Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

Quinoa Salad with Grilled Eggplant, Tomatoes and Onion

November 4, 2008

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this recipe.  I think I got lost in the new layout of the Food Network’s website.  I thought I was getting some of Ellie Krieger’s multigrain recipes, but somehow I ended up with one of Bobby Flay’s.  No matter!  

This was supposed to be a farro salad, but farro is expensive!  No thank you.  Also expensive right now?  Japanese eggplants.  So instead I went with the quinoa in my pantry, and some lovely Whole Foods regular eggplants.  

I made this recipe as part of an effort to cook more for myself.  Unfortunately I decided to make it on a Saturday where the evening was full of baby meltdowns and I was left wondering why I didn’t choose a recipe that at least somewhat resembled comfort food.  But, I pressed on and thank god I did!  This salad is GOOD.  It was good warm, it was good cold the next day with shredded chicken and it was good cold the day after that with diced avocado.  It is so good in fact, that I am making another batch just as soon as I get my hands on more quinoa.  

pb021827

Quinoa Salad with Grilled Eggplant, Tomatoes and Onion
Based on Bobby Flay’s Farro Salad

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed well
3 cups water
1 medium eggplant, halved, sliced in 1/4″ slices
1 small red onion, peeled, halved, and thickly sliced
olive oil for brushing
Salt and black pepper
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, washed and sliced in half
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
Balsamic Vinaigrette, recipe below

Combine quinoa and water in large covered pot. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Place in a large bowl. Heat grill to high (alternatively, use a grill pan over high heat). While the quinoa is cooking, brush the eggplant and onion slices with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes each side or until just cooked through. Remove from the grill and cut into one inch dice. Add the eggplant, onions, tomatoes, and dill to the quinoa. Pour balsamic vinaigrette over the mixture and stir to combine.

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk together the shallot, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and dill in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified.

Raspberry Tart

August 14, 2007

My parents live on a lake and so, end up entertaining quite a bit during the summer.  Everyone loves to come out to the lake, go on a boat ride and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  For this gathering, she needed a dessert.  I recommended a raspberry tart.  I do love my chocolate, but I love lighter, fruity desserts for summer and since they have a raspberry patch, what better?  It ended up that someone else brought dessert to the gathering, so I made the tart this past weekend.  This tart turned out perfectly!  The crust was easy to work with, it was not labor intensive, it looks gorgeous and tasted even better.  We had the neighbors over and the guys, after declaring the tart perfect, had seconds.

Raspberry Tart
Recipe courtesy of Gourmet Magazine

For crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

For filling:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 tablespon water
2 – 3 cups raspberries, picked over

Make crust: In a food processor*, blend together flour, sguar, and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 tablespoons water and toss utnil incorporated. Add enough remaining water if necessary until mixture begins to come together, but is still crumbly. Refrigerate dough, wrapped in plastic for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll out crust until large enough for an 11-inch tart pan. Press crust evenly onto bottom and sides, patching as needed. Prick the crust with a fork, then place in the freezer for five minutes. Line the dough with aluminum foil and weigh it down with pie weights or beans (or rice if you’re in a pinch like we were). Bake in middleof oven until golden, about 30 minutes.

To make the filling, in a bowl with an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg until smooth. Add flour and blend mixture well.

Pour the filling into the warm crust, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until set, about 15-20 minutes. Cool the tart in its pan on a rack.

In a small saucepan, heat jam with water over moderate heat, stirring until melted and smooth. Remove pan from heat and cool jam slightly. Arrange raspberries decoratively on top of tart and brush gently with jam.**

* If you are lazy like me and hate washing food processors, you can easily do this with a pastry cutter or by hand.

** Try to keep the jam only on the tops of the raspberries. Anywhere it touched the cheesecake it stained. While not a big deal, it definitely marred the perfection.

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula

August 8, 2007

I’ve not been feeling the best.  I’m taking some antibiotics that make my stomach a little queasy, so when Amy agreed to come over and cook, my only menu request was that it veer to the carb side of things.  Maybe some people crave protein when they aren’t feeling well, but not me!  We were going to page through Giada’s cookbooks, but Amy ended up in Barefoot Contessa at Home and found the perfect recipe.  It’s creamy, lemony, and fresh – very summery.  We added chicken to make it more of a stand alone dish, but for lunch you could easily do without. Since we had tons of leftovers, I reheated this multiple times and it was perfect for lunch.

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula and Chicken
by Ina Garten
Makes 6 servings

1 T. good olive oil
1 T. minced garlic
2 cups heavy cream
2 lemons
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound dried fusilli pasta
1/2 pound arugula (stems removed and leaves cut into thirds)
1/2 cup freshly greated Parmesan cheese
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lb chicken breasts

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds, then add the cream, the zest and juice of the lemons, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.

Grill the chicken over medium high heat until no longer pink inside. Cut on the diagonal into 1/2 inch strips.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta, and cook al dente according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. (We actually used a large enough saucepan above, so that we were able to add the pasta to the sauce instead of the other way around.) Immediately add the cream mixture and cook over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until the pasta has absorbed most of the sauce. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl and add the arugula, Parmesan,chicken and tomatoes. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

Saturday evening dinner party

June 6, 2007

I’ve lived in this house for almost six years and my favorite room is the screen porch.  It’s the perfect place for entertaining in the summer.  I also got a new grill recently so I thought it was the perfect time to break both in.  I invited Jessica and Amy over for a grilling feast:

Tomato and Watermelon Caprese Salad with Basil Granita
Grilled Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Sauces
Grilled Vegetable Packets
Grilled Pizza with Honeyed Goat Cheese and Strawberries


This salad was beyond amazing. The watermelon added the right amount of crispness and the basil granita was icy and perfect. The granita was a little futzy because I had to take it in and out of the freezer quite a few times to get it to the right consistency to scoop, but it was so worth it.

Tomato-Watermelon Caprese with Basil Granita – serves 4 as side dish
adapted from Running with Tweezers

For basil granita:

one small bunch fresh basil – washed, dried and de-stemmed
1 tsp. sugar
8 ounces cold water
– Add all ingredients to blender and puree on high until fully combined and there are no large pieces of basil remaining. Pour liquid into glass/non-reactive shallow baking dish and place in freezer. Periodically check on mixture and fork to loosen as it freezes – every 15 minutes or so – until it reaches desired consistency.

For salad/assembly:

8 oz. container of mozzarella bocconcini
2 cups watermelon pieces scooped with melon baller
1 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in half
course salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil & balsamic vinegar, optional
– Mix all ingredients together save for the optional olive oil and vinegar. Before serving, top salad with melon ball scoops of basil granita. If dressing the salad, do so at the very end for presentations sake.


We’d had a few glasses of wine by this point and I forgot to take a picture when I plated things, but you get the general idea. It seems like chicken breasts are so huge and thick these days, I prefer recipes where you pound them thin. It also cuts down on the grilling time and I’m much more confident that the chicken is cooked through without getting too dry.

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Adapted from About.com
4 boneless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon each of fresh parsley, rosemary, oregano, and thyme
1 clove minced garlic
4 ounces goat cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

PREPARATION:
If breasts are too large, cut on the diagonal. Put each chicken breast half between two sheets of plastic wrap; pound lightly to flatten evenly. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken pieces.
Lightly oil the grill or grill pan. Grill over medium coals or medium-high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.

Goat Cheese Sauce:
Combine olive oil, wine, and chicken broth in a saucepan; simmer over medium heat until reduced by about 1/2. Add the fresh herbs, garlic, goat cheese, and salt and pepper. Continue simmering, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened. Our sauce never really thickened, but we did let it simmer for over thirty minutes and it was still fabulous.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
Roast two red peppers (or use a jar of roasted red peppers).  In the food processor, combine roasted red peppers, 1/4 cup olive oil, one clove of garlic, and four or five basil leaves.  Process until the consistency you like.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Grilled Vegetable Packets
This is a recipe we came up with a few years ago. You can use just about any vegetable, although if they are going to be on the grill for a bit, I recommend putting the heartier vegetables on the bottom (such as zucchini).
2 zucchinis, sliced
4 roma tomatoes sliced
1 red onion sliced
1 stick butter
Herbs – dried or fresh to taste
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Bread crumbs

Slice all of the vegetables so they are roughly the same thickness. Divide between two foil packets. Melt the butter in a saucepan, adding the herbs and parmesan cheese. Pour the butter over the vegetables and top generously with the bread crumbs. Seal the foil packets and place on the grill over medium heat for 20 minutes. We used to flip the packets, but then the butter ran out and it just didn’t work.

I’m going to skip the grilled pizza recipe because it just wasn’t that fabulous. I burned the crust on the grill, the strawberries had too much liquor in them and really, there are better dessert recipes out there.