Blueberry Margarita

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The first time I tasted this cocktail, I thought it may become my new favorite. After having it a few times now, I am sure it is my new favorite! :) It was extra-special because my husband made it with our fresh-picked Long Island blueberries. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Todd Porter and Diane Cu.

Yield: Makes 1 drink

  • 2 generous tablespoons fresh blueberries
  • 1 generous tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Simple Syrup
  • a dash of Triple Sec
  • Ice
  • Kosher or sea salt for rimming the glass
  1. Rub the rim of a rock or margarita glass with a lime wedge. Swirl the rim through a small pile of kosher or sea salt. Add ice cubes to the glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker muddle the blueberries and lime juice until the blueberries are pulverized. Let sit for a few minutes.
  3. Add the tequila, Simple Syrup, Triple Sec and a handful of ice to the shaker. Add a leftover rind or two from the limes. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds, and then strain into the salted glass.

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One Year Ago:

Rick Bayless’ Roasted Poblano Gazpacho

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Gazpacho is an essential summer soup in my world. Because my husband disagrees, I usually make a humongous batch when my gazpacho-loving family will be around to enjoy it with me. :) This summer, along with my bounty of CSA tomatoes, I bought all of the remaining ingredients to make it when my family came to visit. Unfortunately, I was too busy to throw it together… :(

When life returned to normal (sans visitors), with all of my ingredients on hand, I had to make it. Lucky for my husband, I had a new version in mind. This Mexican twist on the classic Spanish soup pleased even my non-gazpacho-eating husband! The multiple toppings made it fun and even more fabulous. This recipe was adapted from Fiesta at Rick’s and Season 6 of Mexico—One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless, via RickBayless.com.

Yield: Serves 6

  • 2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, preferably vine-ripe heirloom tomatoes, divided
  • 2 large poblano chiles
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 medium (10-12 ounce) seedless European cucumber
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 small yellow onion or 1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 thick slice bread (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 T vinegar, preferably sherry vinegar
  • 2 T olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups croutons, for serving (I used Trader Joe’s garlic-cheese croutons – amazing!)
  1. Chop the cilantro in a food processor. Remove half of the cilantro and place into a serving bowl (which will hold the remainder of the chopped vegetable topping ingredients).
  2. Preheat the broiler. Spread half of the tomatoes and both of the poblanos onto a baking sheet, and roast 4 inches below the broiler until blistered and blackened in spots, about 6 minutes per side. The poblanos may blacken before the tomatoes – remove them as soon as they are done.
  3. Cool the tomatoes and poblanos, then pull or rub off the blackened skins. For chiles, pull out the stems and seed pods, then quickly rinse off seeds and stray bits of skin.
  4. Scoop the roasted tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor, along with any juices on the baking sheet, and the remaining half of the cilantro which was left in the bowl.
  5. Roughly chop half of the poblanos and add to the roasted tomatoes in the food processor.
  6. While the tomatoes and chiles are roasting, roast the garlic directly on a dry griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until soft (they’ll blacken in spots, too), about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool, peel off the papery skin, roughly chop and add to the roasted tomato mixture in the food processor.
  7. While the tomatoes, chiles, and garlic are roasting, bring the eggs to a boil in heavily salted water. When the water comes to a boil, remove from the heat and cover. Let sit for 12 minutes. Drain the hot water and fill the pan with cold water to stop the cooking process. When the eggs are cool, peel and finely chop the eggs. (I use an egg slicer and cut through each egg twice, rotating the egg 90 degrees between presses.) Scoop into a small serving bowl, cover and refrigerate.
  8. Finish the chopped vegetable topping: Chop the remainder of the poblanos into 1/4-inch pieces and place into the topping serving bowl along with the reserved cilantro. Chop enough of the remaining unroasted tomato into 1/4-inch pieces to yield 1 cup; add to the serving bowl with the poblanos and cilantro. Chop half of the cucumber into 1/4-inch pieces and add them too. Stir everything to combine.
  9. Scoop the finely chopped onion into a strainer, rinse under cold water, shake off the excess moisture and add to the vegetable topping mixture in the serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate the topping until you’re ready to serve the soup.
  10. Roughly chop the remaining unroasted tomatoes and cucumbers, and add them in the food processor to the roasted tomato, poblano, garlic, and cilantro mixture. Add the wine, bread, vinegar and olive oil. Process to a smooth puree. Stir in about 1 to 1 1/2 cups water to give the mixture the consistency of a light cream soup. Taste and season with salt, usually about 2 teaspoons. Add freshly ground pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, usually about an hour to overnight.
  11. Ladle the soup into chilled soup bowls. Sprinkle the eggs and chopped vegetable topping generously with salt, stir, then pass them separately with the croutons for each guest to add al gusto.

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One Year Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Raspberry Custard Tart

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I chose to make this lovely tart with my precious hand-picked raspberry harvest. The filling was warm, silky, and tasty – the crust crisp and lemony. I did have difficulty with the caramel sauce; it didn’t include any cream and only had minimal butter to keep it from firming up when cool. After adding cream, the sauce was more successful. Honestly, this simple tart would be perfect even without the sauce! This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Nancy Silverton, the pastry chef of La Brea Bakery and Campanile in Los Angeles.

For the Caramel Sauce:

  • 1/2 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

For the Pastry:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the Filling:

  • 1 pint raspberries, plus more for serving
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  1. Prepare the sauce: Puree the raspberries in a food processor or blender. Strain the puree through a fine sieve set over a medium bowl and discard the solids. In a small heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, without stirring, until a medium-amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and carefully stir in the raspberry puree until smooth. Stir in the butter and cream, then remove from the heat and stir in the salt. Let the raspberry sauce cool completely.
  2. Make the Crust: In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Cut the butter into 8 pieces and add to the flour; pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the egg yolk, lemon juice and zest. Add to the flour mixture and process just until large clumps of dough form. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough 1/8 inch thick and fit in a 9- or 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Freeze 15 minutes, or until firm.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the dough with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the tart shell for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for 5 minutes longer, or until the pastry is lightly browned on the bottom. Cover the shell loosely with foil if the sides begin to brown too quickly. Let cool completely on a rack.
  5. Make the Custard Filling: Arrange the raspberries in concentric circles over the bottom of the tart shell. In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the egg yolks, sugar and scraped vanilla seeds. Pour the custard into the tart shell. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 to 55 minutes, or until the custard is set. Let the tart cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Serve with fresh raspberries and the raspberry-caramel sauce, if desired.

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One Year Ago:

Grilled Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Tacos with Cabbage & Corn Slaw

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We were recently able to have all of my immediate family get together at our house to spend some quality time together. My mom and sister with family were able to spend almost a week here, but my brother was only able to stay one night. The special dinner to serve when everyone was able to be together had to be TACOS. :) Guacamole too, of course.

I had received extra CSA chard from a friend, so I served Rick Bayless’ Swiss Chard Tacos (one of my favorites) along with these shrimp tacos for variety. It’s always more fun to be able to try different types and use tons of toppings! We set up the table so that everyone could assemble their own tacos. The chard tacos had smoky chipotle salsa, feta, and sour cream toppings, and the shrimp tacos had corn slaw and roasted jalapeño crema toppings. We also had rice and refried beans on the side. Nice. :)

This recipe was adapted from closetcooking.com. I modified the cooking times, used a grill basket to cook the shrimp, and used raw fresh corn in the slaw. The recipes below were doubled for my crowd.

Yield: Serves 4

For the Grilled Cilantro-Lime Shrimp:

  • 1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 limes, juice and zest (about 1/4 cup lime juice)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Marinate the shrimp in the mixture of the lime juice, zest, oil, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, salt and pepper for 15 to 20 minutes. (In the original recipe, the shrimp marinated for 30 minutes & was “cooked” by the end; I modified the cooking time so that the shrimp would not be overcooked after grilling.)
  2. Skewer the shrimp and grill over medium-high heat until cooked (pink), about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Alternatively, place shrimp in a lightly-oiled grill basket over medium-high heat and cook until pink, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.

For the Roasted Jalapeño Crema:

  • 2+ jalapeno chiles, cut in half and seeded
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • coarse salt, to taste
  1. Place the peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet with the cut side facing down, place the baking sheet on the top shelf in the oven and broil until the outer layer of the skin has blistered and blackened, about 8-14 minutes.
  2. Seal the foil around the chiles and let them cool until you can handle them, about 10 minutes, before pinching off the skins.
  3. Puree with remaining ingredients. Set aside 1/4 cup for the Corn Slaw. Place remaining Crema in a bowl for serving.

For the Corn Slaw:

  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded in a food processor
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup roasted jalapeño crema (above)
  1. Combine all ingredients. Place in a serving bowl.

For the Tacos:

  • 1 pound cilantro lime shrimp
  • 12 small corn tortillas
  • Roasted Jalapeño Crema
  • Corn Slaw
  • 1 large avocado, diced, optional
  • cilantro to taste, optional
  1. Assemble the tacos with corn slaw on the bottom, topped with avocado, shrimp and a dollop of roasted jalapeño crema along with a garnish of cilantro.

One Year Ago:

Blueberry Buckle

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After berry picking, I feel pressure to carefully pick a recipe to optimize the use of my precious goods. :) I have been making this blueberry buckle practically every year since it was printed in Martha Stewart Living in July 2000!! It was a sure bet for our beautiful blueberries. :)

I served it for dessert to visiting family and we gobbled up the rest for breakfast the next morning. We also enjoyed our fresh-picked blueberries in an oven-baked blueberry pancake and in a few blueberry margaritas- delightful!

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I repeated some favorite recipes from last year with our peach harvest (yellow peaches this year- we went too early for the white peaches…). White (now yellow!) Peach-Vanilla Bean Jam which was even better this year made with Ball brand liquid pectin, and Peach & Pecan Sandy Crumble- delicious!!

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I’m sharing this deliciousness at Angie’s party this week at The Novice Gardener- Happy Fiesta Friday #31!!

For the Cake:

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  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
  • 5 cups wild or cultivated blueberries
  • Streusel Topping, recipe follows
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a springform baking pan, and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add egg and vanilla, beating until fully combined.
  5. Add reserved flour mixture, alternating with the milk, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Remove from mixer. Gently fold in blueberries.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan; sprinkle streusel topping over cake. Bake until cake tester comes out batter-free, 55 minutes (on convection) or 60 to 70 minutes in a standard oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool for 15 minutes before serving.

For the Streusel Topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until fine crumbs form.
  2. Using hands, squeeze together most of the mixture to form large clumps. The topping can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

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One Year Ago:

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Herbed Ricotta Pasta with Corn & Zucchini

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Every summer my kids take swimming lessons at our nearby beach on the Long Island Sound. We “have to” go to the beach every afternoon for two weeks. It is so wonderful. It is such a joy in my life! My friends and I relax and enjoy the beach and our kids play for HOURS before and after their lessons. The funny part is that because I am so tired from being so relaxed (?), it is difficult to make dinner when we finally come home!

This quick and easy dish was inspired by my friend talking about her plan to eat TONS of zucchini during an upcoming visit with her Mom. The recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. Perfect after a long afternoon at the beach- a perfect summer dish for Angie’s Fiesta Friday #30 at the Novice Gardener, co-hosted by Margy of La Petite Casserole. Wonderful dishes are shared- it is fun to check it out!

  • 3 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1-2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 cup chopped (1-inch pieces) pole beans
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 ounces whole wheat farfalle, or other medium-sized pasta
  • 2 T chopped fresh dill, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 generous cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (I use the convection roast setting).
  2. Place chopped zucchini on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast at 425 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender. Set aside.
  3. Combine the ricotta, Parmesan, herbs, and zucchini in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta in the boiling water 3 minutes less that the suggested cooking time. Add the beans and corn and cook together the remaining 3 minutes.
  5. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Then drain the pasta, corn, and beans. Cut the kernels off of the corn cobs and add to the ricotta mixture.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the ricotta mixture. Stir to form a light sauce.
  7. Add the pasta and beans to the sauce and toss to coat. Add more pasta water if necessary to achieve the desired sauce consistency and coverage.

Note: I use any remaining pasta water to add to the leftovers prior to refrigerating; it helps maintain moisture when reheating.

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One Year Ago:

Biscoff Blondies

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So, my buddy said, “Who likes blondies? Why can’t you make brownies like a normal person?”  I have to put up with such comments in order to eat a delicious dinner at her house… :) Dessert is not the focal point of a meal (in her world…), so I feel compelled to contribute a dessert to her dinner parties. I will have you know that she enjoyed these very much and kept the two leftover blondies to enjoy for breakfast the next morning. She may be a convert! :)

These blondies were moist, sweet, and tasty but not as “Biscoffy” as I had expected. We gobbled them up nonetheless!! This recipe was adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction, via Jhuls of thenotsocreativecook.wordpress.com.

Yield: Makes 16 Blondies

  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons (1/3 cup or 75g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (200g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff spread
  • 1 1/4 cups (225g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir the melted butter and brown sugar together until combined.
  4. Whisk in the egg and egg yolk, then add the vanilla. Stir in the cookie spread.
  5. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Be careful not to overmix, which will result in crumbly, hard blondies. The batter will be very thick. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes (on convection) to 25-26 minutes (standard oven). The blondies may appear very soft, but they will set up as they cool. Allow the blondies to cool completely- about 3 hours – before cutting into squares.

Note: Recipe may easily be doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan for approximately 35 minutes. Blondies stay fresh at room temperature for 1 week.

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One Year Ago:

Slow-Cooker Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

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I can’t believe it, but I am tired of pulled pork. What is even more surprising is that my husband is in agreement! This was a nice variation and the sauce was tasty with a subtle spicy kick; I omitted the liquid smoke as I am not partial to smoky flavor. The chicken was really moist even after five hours in the slow-cooker too. This recipe was adapted from Cook’s Country Magazine, via cookingwithauntjuju.com and talkingonmagazines.com. Perfect to feed a crowd. Perfect for guests because it can be made ahead of time and reheated in the slow-cooker prior to serving. We ate it with Provencal Tomatoes and corn on the cob but it may have needed coleslaw and potato salad (too?!?). Next time… :) Nice!

Yield: Serves 10 to 12

  • 4 (10-12 oz) bone-in split chicken breasts
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 tsp chili powder
  • 2-3 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) tomato paste
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 T brown mustard
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp Sriracha or other hot sauce, plus more for serving, if desired
  • 3/4 tsp liquid smoke, if desired
  • 12 sandwich rolls (I prefer potato rolls)
  1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Generously season with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine onion, oil, garlic, chili powders, cayenne, and tomato paste in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until the onion softens slightly, about 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer the onion mixture to the slow-cooker and stir in the ketchup, molasses, mustard, and cider vinegar.
  4. Add the chicken to the slow-cooker and toss to combine with sauce. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, or until chicken shreds easily with a fork.
  5. Transfer cooked chicken to a cutting board or rimmed baking sheet and loosely tent with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Using a ladle or large spoon, skim the fat off the surface of the sauce. Discard.
  7. Stir the hot sauce and liquid smoke (if using) into the sauce. Cover to keep warm.
  8. Remove and discard chicken breast skin and bones. Coarsely shred the breast meat using 2 forks. Roughly chop the thigh meat into 1/2-inch chunks.
  9. Return the meat to the slow-cooker and combine with sauce. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve on sandwich rolls with hot sauce to pass at the table, if desired.

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One Year Ago:

Ina Garten’s Provencal Tomatoes

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In the summer, my husband takes care of the tomato plants at his boss’ house for a week while she and her family are on vacation. If we are lucky, we are rewarded with delicious tomatoes that happen to ripen under his watch. :) This year we were so fortunate! The classic combination of tomatoes with herbs and cheese in this side dish was the perfect use for our special tomatoes. I think it would be great with Parmesan cheese in lieu of Gruyere as well. This recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style, via foodnetwork.com. We ate it with pulled chicken sandwiches and corn on the cob- so summery and tasty!

  • 6 tomatoes (2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (from 5 slices of bread, crusts removed)
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 2 T minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place bread slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast bread in oven until dry and crispy, about 5 minutes. Pulse crispy bread in a food processor until coarse bread crumbs are formed. Set aside.
  3. Cut cores from tomatoes, removing as little as possible. Slice tomatoes in half crosswise and remove seeds. Place tomato halves in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  4. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, scallions, basil, parsley, garlic, thyme, and 1 tsp of coarse salt.
  5. Sprinkle the tomato halves generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Using your hands, fill the cavities and cover the tops of the tomatoes with the bread crumb mixture.
  7. Bake the tomatoes for 15 minutes, or until tender.
  8. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 2 to 4 minutes more, until cheese is melted and lightly browned.
  9. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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One Year Ago:

Roasted Sicilian Eggplant & Ricotta Bake

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A beautiful new grocery store chain opened in my area- so exciting!! On my first visit, the produce section had a giant table covered in vegetables from a Hudson Valley farm (with lovely pictures of the farm hanging over it!). The center of the table had a pile of gorgeous Sicilian eggplant- round, light purple, HUGE…. delicious! I increased the amount of eggplant in this Food and Wine “staff-favorite” dish because I had to buy more than two of these beauties! :)

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This dish was a wonderful vegetarian main but would also work as a hearty side dish. The eggplant was tender and sweet with brightness from the lemon zest-seasoned creamy ricotta. The crunchy bread topping was the icing on the cake. We ate it with a fabulous arugula salad on the side. My meat-loving husband enjoyed it too!

  •  3 large Sicilian eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes (2 large eggplants could be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • cooking spray, for greasing the pan
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 scallions, thinly slices
  • 2 T unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 T Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 oz baguette, torn into 1/2-inch pieces, crust removed, if desired (I left it for the crunch) (alternatively country white bread could be used)
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  2. On 2 baking sheets, spread the eggplant in an even layer. Drizzle with 6 tablespoons of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss. Roast for 10 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the scallions with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions to the eggplant and dot with the butter. Roast for 15 minutes longer, stirring, until the eggplant is tender.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta with the Greek yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  5. In a small bowl, toss the bread with the remaining 1 T of olive oil.
  6. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer the eggplant and onions to the baking dish.
  7. Dollop the ricotta mixture on top and spread to cover. Scatter the bread on top.
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the bread is golden.

Note: The roasted eggplant and onions can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.

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One Year Ago:

Salted Dulce de Leche Shortbread (Alfajores) Bars

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I first spotted (and bookmarked!) Alfajores on What Jessica Baked Next- South American shortbread sandwich cookies filled with Dulce de Leche. They were beautiful, no-doubt delicious, yet labor intensive and time-consuming. More for winter baking, not summer baking! I was thrilled to spot this shortcut version on Bourbon and Brown Sugar adapted from Jill O’Connor’s Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey cookbook. EASY and delicious. Yay! I used unsalted butter, cut the recipe in half, and modified the baking times. We gobbled them up. :)

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1/2 pound), at room temperature (if using salted butter, omit the coarse salt)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 T vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz Dulce de Leche (about 1/2 of a jar, or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Beat until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Add the salt and flour, and mix on low-speed until a smooth, soft dough forms.
  4. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Press approximately half of the dough into the bottom of the pan and spread evenly to form a bottom crust. Place remaining dough aside in the refrigerator to chill.
  5. Bake the bottom crust until firm, and the edges are a pale golden brown, approximately 15 minutes in a convection oven or 20 minutes in a standard oven. When the bottom crust is finished, let it rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Microwave the Dulce de Leche for approximately 30 seconds so that it softens and is easier to spread.
  7. Spoon the Dulce de Leche onto the bottom crust and spread it evenly.
  8. Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it over the top of the Dulce de Leche.
  9. Sprinkle the sea salt over the top of the crumbled dough.
  10. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden brown, approximately 20 minutes in a convection oven or up to 30 minutes in a standard oven.
  11. Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

One Year Ago:

Moroccan Chicken Brochettes with Garlic Sauce

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I am a total convert to chicken thighs- they really are the tastiest chicken meat and never dry out when cooked. This grilled chicken was tender, flavorful, and wonderful. Cutting the chicken into 2-inch pieces was the perfect size for cooking and eating. The garlic sauce was creamy and SUPER garlicky- amazing!! This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit. We ate it on warm naan, smothered with sauce, with salad and our favorite Turkish Bulgur and Vegetable Pilaf on the side. DELICIOUS!!

For the Garlic Sauce:

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 T plain Greek yogurt

For the Chicken:

  • 2-3 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2″ pieces (10 thighs)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • coarse salt
  • vegetable oil (for grilling)
  • Warm naan or pita bread
  • grilled grape tomatoes or chopped fresh tomatoes
  • fresh mint leaves, for serving, optional
  • 8-inch bamboo or metal skewers

To Make the Garlic Sauce:

  1. Place the chopped garlic in a mortar; season with salt and pound to a very fine paste.
  2. Transfer garlic paste to a small bowl and gradually whisk in the oil.
  3. Very gradually whisk yogurt into garlic mixture until emulsified. (If it is added too fast the sauce will break. If it does break, gradually whisk in 1 tsp water just before serving.)

Note: Garlic sauce can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

To Prepare the Chicken:

  1. Toss chicken, garlic, parsley, cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl; season with salt. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. (or up to 12 hours)
  2. Prepare grill for medium-high heat and oil grate.
  3. Thread the chicken onto skewers. Grill, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 8-12 minutes. If grilling tomatoes, thread onto skewers and lightly oil. Grill until tender.
  4. Serve with garlic sauce, tomatoes, warm naan or pita, and garnish with mint, if desired.

Note: Chicken can be marinated 12 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

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One Year Ago:

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