Sunday, August 30, 2009

Caprese Salad

Large red or yellow tomatoes, sliced
Fresh Mozzarella cheese, drained and sliced
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Slice tomatoes and place on platter, top with slice of cheese and a basil leaf. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Alternative recipe;

Sliced tomatoes cut into bit size pieces
Small fresh Mozzarella balls - cut in half
Fresh basil - chopped
Kalamata Olives - cut in half
Sea Salt and Fresh ground black pepper
Olive Oil

Peach and Blueberry Crisp

6 large peaches, peeled and cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 plus 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the peaches, blueberries, granulated sugar, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour. Transfer to a shallow 3 quart baking dish.
In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup flour. Using your fingers, incorporate the butter until coarse crumbs form. Mix in the oats and almonds.
Squeeze the topping into marble-size clumps and sprinkle onto the peaches and blueberries. Bake until the top is golden and the fruit is tender, 45-55 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream and/or fresh whipped cream.

Alfredo Sauce

1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Butter
1 1/2 Cups freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Clove Garlic - Crushed
Sun-dried Tomatoes
Pinch of Nutmeg - to taste
Chicken or Seafood

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes, then add garlic and cheese and whisk quickly, heating through. Add sun-dried tomatoes and pinch of nutmeg.

Saute either chunks of chicken or scallops and shrimp over low heat until cooked.
Bring pasta water to a boil and add in linguine, cook according to package instructions.
Pour sauce over pasta and top with chicken or seafood.
Serve with fresh baked baguette and garden salad.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dinner at Jennifer's

The only thing missing from this particular Sunday dinner was Cynthia, Penny and Sarig. As I walked into the house the smell of Tim's Grandma's Alfredo sauce and the sound of laughter amongst friends filled my senses. I immediately felt overwhelmed with joy to be with friends whom I don't get to see nearly often enough, if it were up to me we would spend every Sunday together cooking and enjoying each others company. I know I say it a lot but man this group is great!

Thank you Jennifer and Tim for hosting this months supper club.

Welcome Tracy, you fit right in and will be a great addition to our group.

The menu consisted of:

Appetizer - Caprese Salad, compliments of Melissa and Josh

Main Course - Fettuccine Alfredo with a choice of chicken, scallops and shrimp, along with a yummy garden salad topped with Italian dressing, compliments of Tim and Jennifer

Dessert - Fresh peach and blueberry cobbler topped with fresh whipped cream, served with vanilla ice-cream, compliments of Jill and Scott

Thank you to those that brought wine, all lovely choices.

Looking forward to next months supper club at Melissa and Josh's. Rumor has it we will be eating Melissa's secret family lasagna recipe. I have been hearing about and waiting to try this lasagna for two years. Details to follow...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wines for Humanity

So we all like wine, enjoy drinking wine and are always up for doing something that combines wine and a good cause, right?

I was recently told about Wines for Humanity. Wines for humanity raises funds for charity by introducing people to the joy of fine wines. They host private wine tastings and a portion of the proceeds from every bottle directly benefits families in the community who find themselves homeless for reasons beyond their control.

Their vision is "No family in America, with children, should become homeless through circumstances beyond their control. Funds will be raised through wine tastings that bring friends together to experience the joy of fine wines. We are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with finer spirit of hope and achievement."

I am excited about this organization. I love wine and helping towards a good cause just adds to the benefits.

The currently operate in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina and Michigan.

"All that you need to host a tasting is a room to accommodate you and a few friends (up to 16), 2 hours of your time, and a table for us to setup the wines and wineglasses. That's it! Of course, cheese and crackers are recommended to complement the wine and cleanse the palate!"

You can check them out at to inquire about hosting a wine tasting.

The cost is minimal and would make for a great evening amongst friends for a great cause.

Definitely going to work on hosting a wine tasting for my friends and hope that you will all participate.



Food for Thought

As we are approaching our next supper club, don't forget it is this sunday at Jennifer Stones, I thought I would leave you with some food for thought.

"I always cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food" -- W.C. Fields

"Food is our common ground, a universal experience" -- James Beard

"Good food ends with good talk" -- Geoffrey Neighbor

"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients" -- Julia Child

"Never eat more than you can lift" -- Miss Piggy

"We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are." -- Adelle Davis

"At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely." -- W. Somerset Maugham

Looking forward to seeing you Sunday!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mushroom Pecan Burgers

Ever looking for an alternative to red meat? These burgers are really fantastic and healthy too! You have to trust me when I say you will LOVE them! I got the recipe out of my favorite cookbook Moosewood Restaurant New Classics.

1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups chopped cremini or other mushrooms*
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans**
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 cup cooked brown rice
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon miso
1 cake firm tofu, 16oz pressed ***
Salt and Pepper to taste

*cremini mushrooms give a stronger, more distinctive flavor than other mushrooms. ten ounces of mushrooms equals about 4 cups.
**Toast pecans in a single layer on an unoiled baking tray at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes, until fragrant and golden brown.
***Sandwich tofu between two plates and rest a heavy weight (can or book) on the top plate. Press for about 15 minutes; then drain the expressed liquid from the bottom plate.

Preheat oven to 350, generously oil a baking sheet.

In a medium skillet, saute the onions in the oil. Cook on medium heat until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the marjoram, thyme, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender, 5 to 10 minutes more.

Spoon the mushroom mixture into a bowl. Add the pecans, soy sauce, bread crumbs, rice, oats, dill, and miso, if using. Mix in the tofu, mashing it with your hands or a potato masher. Add salt and pepper and mix well.

Shape the mixture into six round patties and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve on a bun. Add your favorite toppings of melted fontina or cheddar cheese, red onions, tomatoes, avocado, ketchup and dijon mustard.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Seasonal Dishes - Miso Salmon & Watermelon Cucumber Salad

Growing up with a garden, what we ate year round was very much seasonal based. To this day I still follow that rule. I don't make or eat hot soups or chowders in the summer, chili is strictly a fall food and collard greens are best after the first frost. Which means every season I look forward to some favorite dishes that I only get a few times a year.

With the end of summer approaching faster than I like to admit, there are so many dishes I have wanted to make yet haven't. Mainly due to the fact that when I make a dish for myself I have to live off it for a week straight, I have still yet to figure out how to cook for 1.

Below are a few that I have been thinking about making lately and wanted to share.

Watermelon-Cucumber Salad
Serves 6
Half a small watermelon, to make 4 cups fruit
3 medium cucumbers
1 cup feta cheese crumbles
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
3/4 cup fresh basil or mint, cut into thin strips (if you need any basil or mint, I have excess)

Cut the melon away from the rind and dice the flesh into 1-inch chunks. Get rid of as many seeds as you can.

Peel the cucumbers and cut into 1-inch chunks.

Toss the melon and cucumbers lightly with the cheese.

Mix the oil and vinegar and pour over the salad. Add the fresh herbs and toss again.

Miso Lime Ginger Glazed Salmon
1/4 cup red miso (soybean paste)
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
4 (6 ounce) skinless butterfly cut salmon filets
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
cooking spray
1 tbsp black or white sesame seeds, toasted

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. 

Brush fish with miso mixture. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

Combine honey, lime juice and ginger in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cook 10 minutes or until the mixture thinly coats the back of a spoon, set aside.

Coat broiler or grill with cooking spray.

Pre-heat broiler or grill.

Cook fish 3 minutes each side and drizzle honey mixture over fish. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

If you want a peanut miso sauce for dipping;

Peanut Miso Sauce
1/3 cup reduced fat peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp yellow miso paste
2 tbsp water
3 tsp fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp ground red pepper