Thursday, July 30, 2015

Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

My tomatoes are still growing and not ready to use quite yet.  I found some lovely colored cherry tomatoes in the grocery store that were just too pretty to pass up.  The smell of garlic and tomatoes when you roast these is mouth watering.  They are pretty versatile too.  My first batch is being used for bruschetta and my next to top a pizza.

Roasted Tomato Brushetta

Roasted Tomatoes ~

1# cherry or grape tomatoes
2 tbsp. garlic olive oil
2 springs of thyme
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Line a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil.  In a bowl, sprinkle the tomatoes with garlic olive oil and the spices.  Toss and make sure they are evenly covered.  Spread the tomatoes out on the baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350°. 

Slice French or Italian bread in 1/2" slices. Brush with a light coating of olive oil and bake for 10 minutes at 350°.  Place warm roasted tomatoes on the toasted bread and top with a slice of Parmesan cheese.

Here's a picture of the roasted tomatoes on their own ~

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blackberry Lemon Tart

It was one of those weekends.  I was missing ingredients on every recipe I was thinking about trying my hand at.  Nothing worth running to the store for, it was just time to think of something new to try with what was on hand.  I had a pint of blackberries in my refrigerator that needed to be used and a couple of lemons sitting on my kitchen counter.  Luckily the heat and humidity were both elevated enough to keep me indoors since it was almost an all-day adventure in creating this dessert.   The blackberry sauce can also be used for topping  pancakes, waffles or ice cream.

Blackberry Lemon Tart

Tart Shell ~
1 ¼ cup flour
¾ cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup cold butter, sliced in small pieces
1 large egg
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla
Put all the dry ingredients in your food processor with the blade and pulse until combined.  Add in butter slices.  Pulse again until just combined so the butter doesn’t get too warm.  In a small dish, combine the milk, egg and vanilla.  Pour into the flour mixture and pulse until a dough forms.  Remove the dough from the processor and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for a half hour.  Remove from the refrigerator and let sit for 10 minutes.  Roll out until the dough is ¼” thick.  Butter  the bottom only of your tart pan.  Place dough in pan.  Only lightly pressing down and on the sides.  Trim off any extra.  Return to refrigerator while your oven heats up to 350°.  Cover the bottom of the dough with aluminum foil and add pie weights.  When the oven is heated, bake for 30 minutes.
While that is baking, you can start your lemon filling.
Lemon Filling ~
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
Whisk together in a large saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until it thickens.  Allow to cool to just warm and pour into the tart shell.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°.  Remove and allow to cool completely.  Place in refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.
Blackberry Sauce ~
2 cups fresh blackberries
½ cup sugar

Cook until it comes to a simmer and all the berries have released their juices.  In a small dish, combine 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp corn starch.  Stir into the berries and cook until thickened.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

New potatoes are great to have but there's only so many ways that you can make them.  I made these a week ago using red potatoes and this time using fingerling potatoes.  Both work equally well so it all depends on which you have easier access to.

Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

1# new red potatoes or fingerling potatoes, skin on
1/4 cup Parmesan or American Grana, grated
2 tbsp butter
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes until fork tender.  Drain and cool.  Smash on a non-stick foil lined or non-stick baking sheet.  I used my meat tenderizer mallet (flat side) to smash the potatoes.  Season the potatoes.  Take a pinch of the cheese and sprinkle on top.  Dot the top of each potato with some butter.  The butter will melt and run down and create a crispy bottom to the potatoes.  Bake for 45 minutes at 350°.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yogurt Chicken

This is an easy work night chicken recipe.  Trust was my work night dinner tonight served with fresh green beans from my garden.  I was able to get the chicken breasts in the oven and then concentrate on cutting the green beans with still some time to sit down and relax.  This recipe is for 2 servings.  Double it for 4.

Yogurt Chicken

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp parsley

Place the yogurt in one bowl and the remainder of the ingredients in a second bowl.  Mix together the Panko and spices well.  Dip the chicken breasts in the yogurt first on both sides and then in the Panko mixture.  Place in a non-stick aluminum lined or greased baking pan.  Bake for 40 minutes at 350°.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lemon Yogurt Fruit Dip

Another great summertime dessert that is refreshing and and guilt-free.  I used Mascarpone instead of sour cream so the dip would be a little firmer but you can certainly use either one.  The light lemon flavor blends nicely with most fruits.  I served it with red grapes, apple slices, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.

Lemon Yogurt Fruit Dip

1 - 6 oz container lemon yogurt
8 oz Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 tsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon peel, grated

In a small bowl, cream together the yogurt and Mascarpone.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Grape Crush Frozen Dessert

I'm not sure if this is really an ice cream, an ice milk or just a tasty summer treat.  It's not creamy enough to be an ice cream but it has just the right amount to you down and enjoy it.  The extra dash of cinnamon adds a nice little zing of spice.  

Grape Crush Frozen Dessert

1 cup whipping cream
1 - 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp cinnamon
4 cups Grape Crush

Mix together the whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk.  Stir in the cinnamon.  Add in your Grape Crush and then pour into your ice cream maker.  Run until it freezes and then put into a freezer container.  Leave in freezer an additional 8 hours before serving to completely harden.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Roasted Corn Dip

If you are looking for a great summertime dip recipe that can be served cold, this is it.  Plus it's packed with lots of sweet corn which is really reasonably priced this time of year.  Plus it has just the right amount of heat that will keep your crowd dipping corn chips in and enjoying the taste of summer.  I used Fontina cheese for it's mild, nutty taste but you can substitute in mozzarella.  If you like bacon, cook and drain 4 pieces before crumbling into dip.

Roasted Corn Dip

5 ears sweet corn, shucked
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
5 oz Fontina cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
1 can green chilies, drained
1/2 tsp chili powder
4 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)

Grill the sweet corn on all sides and allow to cool before cutting off the kernels.  In a medium sized bowl, cream together softened cream cheese, Fontina and sour cream.  Mix in the chili powder and green chilies.  Fold in the sweet corn and bacon pieces.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.  Serve with large Frito's or sturdy tortilla chips.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken Skewers

This is a great quick meal on the grill.  The rub caramelizes on the chicken and bacon keeping it moist and adds just the right amount of heat.  I recommend cooking your bacon partially so you don't end up with raw bacon in-between the pieces of chicken.  If you have a microwave cooker, just put it in for a couple of minutes so the bacon is still pliable.  

Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken Skewers

1# chicken tenders, or breast meat that you cut down into 1" squares
4 pieces bacon, partially cooked
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp chili powder

Place one end of the bacon on the skewer, place a piece of chicken and then weave the bacon on top of it, continue doing this until the piece of bacon is used up.  Once you have all the chicken and bacon used up make the rub in a small bowl of the brown sugar and chili powder.  Rub over all sides of the skewers.  Place on a hot grill and cook, turning once.  Cook until the chicken reaches 165°.  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Apple Sauce BBQ Sauce

It's not easy to say 10 times really fast but it is great on top of pork chops and chicken.  Great holiday weekend so far with warm temperatures and just a light breeze...perfect for grilling.  I hope everyone is having a safe and fun weekend.

Apple Sauce BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Place all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer.  I seasoned the pork chops and chicken before placing on the grill.  If you are baking the meat with the sauce on, add in 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

Celebrate today by counting your blessings and appreciating the sacrifices others have made in the past, present and future for you to enjoy your freedom.  No recipe today but the above artwork was made by a young talented artist named Haley, who is also one of my recipe testers.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Farro, Corn & Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I realize that this sounds like a unique combination but everything does work well together.  It's a great side dish that goes with everything.  Farro is fast becoming my favorite grain.  It's very hearty.  If you have problems finding it at your grocery store, you can substitute in barley.

Farro, Corn & Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2" pieces.

Place sweet potato pieces on a non-stick pan and sprinkle 1 tbsp. of olive oil over.  Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350°

While the sweet potato is roasting, combine the following in a medium saucepan.

1/2 cup farro, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt

Simmer until tender - approximately 20 minutes.  Drain and hold for remaining ingredients.

2 ears sweet corn, cut kernels from cobs
2 tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme

In a frying pan, melt butter.  Add in corn kernels and cook for 3 minutes.  Add in garlic and thyme. 

Add in cooked corn and roasted sweet potato into the drained farro.  Season with additional salt if needed and freshly ground pepper.