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Friday, July 30, 2010

Potato Tomato Gratin

What do you do with all those beautiful red, ripe tomatoes?  After all they are too good to eat just plain, maybe with a little salt on them.  I had gone to the farmers market last weekend and as usual I over bought tomatoes.  They are just so pretty and tempting.  I swear they call out to me, "Hey Mary, over here, come on you need to buy me, Hey lady - buy all of us"! And so I do, come home, with way to many tomatoes for any two people to consume. I had the last three tomatoes that were very ripe and I had to use them quick or else they were going to ruin and I can't have that!  Then I remembered an episode I saw of "The Lyon in the Kitchen" (he is one of my favorite up and coming chefs), the other day and he was making this recipe, I adapted his recipe a little bit to suit my taste but I am sure his is good too!  Hey Nathan, hope you don't mind my version of your recipe...
So when you have too many ripe tomatoes you might want to consider this recipe or just eat them plain!


Think about it, sweet, salty, fresh and delicious, what's better?



The Players!





In a skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, onions and 1 teaspoon salt.  Saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic and thyme and continue to cook for 1 minute.  







Mix in oregano and basil, then deglaze pan with white wine, reduce wine to nothing, remove from heat.







Spray a medium sized gratin dish with olive oil spray and begin to layer – 1/3 of the onion mixture, 








top with a tight layer of potatoes, 








then with a layer of tomatoes – season each layer with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.







Layer again with 1/3 of the onions, potatoes, then tomatoes 





and finish with one last layer of onions.  Pour half-n-half over the top and shake to distribute throughout the gratin.  Cover tightly with foil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for approximately one hour and thirty minutes.



All the fresh ingredients rolled into one dish, how wonderful!
I hope you find time to make this healthy tomato potato gratin for yourself and your family.  It is so incredibly flavorful and you get to eat potatoes!






The Recipe:




Potato Tomato Gratin

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cups sweet onion sliced thin
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 tablespoons basil leaves chopped
1 tablespoons fresh oregano, rough chop
½ cup white wine
1 pound ripe tomatoes cut in 1/3 inch slices
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes cut in ¼ inch slices
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup of half-n-half
Kosher salt and pepper for seasoning

In a skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, onions and 1 teaspoon salt.  Saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic and thyme and continue to cook for 1 minute.  Mix in oregano and basil, then deglaze pan with white wine, reduce wine to nothing, remove from heat.

Spray a medium sized gratin dish with olive oil spray and begin to layer – 1/3 of the onion mixture, top with a tight layer of potatoes, then with a layer of tomatoes, sprinkle of parmesan cheese – season each layer with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Layer again with 1/3 of the onions, potatoes, tomatoes, one last layer of onions and finish with remainder of 
parmesan cheese 
.  Pour half-n-half over the top and shake to distribute throughout the gratin.  Cover tightly with foil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for approximately one hour and thirty minutes (or until potatoes are tender).  (you can also pre-cook potatoes to fork tender and reduce cooking time to 30 minutes).

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Serve with your favorite steak or chicken.  Garnish with flat-leaf parsley.

Happy Eating!

Adapted recipe from Nathan Lyons, Lyon in the Kitchen, Discovery Health Channel


Friday, July 23, 2010

Lemon Saffron Risotto

When in Rome.......



Do you recognize the photo above?  It's the Roman Colosseum.  I love seeing this over and over, the age, the history.  Rome evokes many feelings from me when I think about how old everything is and seeing the modern aspects of the city in the first photo (the smog).  I have a lot of fond memories of Rome.  I loved the Fountain of Trevi and the Spanish Steps.  Regardless, I fell in love with this one restaurant in Rome, Italy.  It is called Edy.  It is a small place off the beaten path but well worth the find.  Their dishes were different than the usual pizza and pasta.  The Lemon Saffron Risotto was to die for! This was the first time I had eaten a Lemon Saffron Risotto and I fell in love!  My mom and I managed to eat this 3 times while in Rome over a three day period! 


While living in Europe I was fortunate to be able to travel a lot and Italy is one of my favorite places to go in the fall, not this time of year, it is as hot as Texas and they have little or no air conditioning.  I hate being hot! 




The Spanish Steps!



Fountain of Trevi......


My Mom and I at "Edy"!  I did not have a blog then so I did not take any photos of the food.  It was a wonderful time with my mom.  

Now for the rest of the story......

My version of Lemon Saffron Risotto!


Did you know that saffron is the most expensive spice in the world!
Coming from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus, it takes 75,000 blossoms or 225,000 hand-picked stigmas to make a single pound, thus the cost!

Because of its expense, intense flavor, and strong dying properties, very little saffron is required for culinary purposes and the key is to distribute it evenly throughout the dish being prepared.  Be sure to get saffron that is bright in color.




Do you see the bright red color?




When buying saffron, always get the bright colors.




To extract the flavor you have to steep the saffron in hot water— a pinch to a cup will create the desired flavor and color. Good saffron should expand on contact with the water and a cup of  saffron infused water 
should be sufficient for 1 lb of rice. 

On with the recipe...


The Players!


Get all you ingredients ready.


Heat the broth in a separate pan, keep warm.


Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoon of oil in large pot.


Add in the onions, saute for 10 minutes.



Add garlic and rice stirring until coated, cook for 4 minutes.


Increase heat under rice/onion mixture and add in wine.  When the mixture bubbles, reduce heat to medium, simmer until wine is absorbed.    


Keep the rice at a hot temperature as you continue to add warm stock 2 ladles at a time, stirring until liquid is all absorbed before each new addition of stock.



Keep the rice at a hot temperature as you continue to add warm stock 2 ladles at a time, stirring until liquid is all absorbed before each new addition of stock.


Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the cheeses. 
Stir well and season with salt and pepper.


Look how creamy this as I added the cheese and butter!







See the fleck of saffron...




Mine is better than theirs!!

The Recipe:




Lemon Saffron Risotto

1 ¼ cup Arborio rice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sweet onion, finely diced
¾ cup dry white wine
5 ½ cups chicken stock
15 saffron threads (or a pinch) steeped in ½ cup boiling water
1 tablespoon lemon zest (2 medium lemons)
2 ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Romano cheese
3 slices of prosciutto – cooked until crisp in microwave for garnish


Boil water and add to saffron threads to steep.

Heat all of the stock in a large saucepan.  You will be adding warm stock to the rice in small increments.

Place 3 slices of prosciutto on a microwave safe dish and cook until crisp.  Place on paper towel to cool, and then break into pieces.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan over moderate heat.  Add 1 cup of onion and cook for 10 minutes.  Add garlic and rice stirring until coated, cook for 4 minutes.

Increase heat under rice/onion mixture and add in wine.  When the mixture bubbles, reduce heat to medium, simmer until wine is absorbed.  Keep the rice at a hot temperature as you continue to add warm stock 2 ladles at a time, stirring until liquid is all absorbed before each new addition of stock.  Pour in the saffron infused water, the lemon juice, lemon zest with the final amount of stock and stir until absorbed.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the cheeses. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with sprinkles of Parmesan and crispy prosciutto.

Happy Eating!








Thursday, July 15, 2010

Panko Crusted Halibut with Orange Sauce





Is it hot in your neck of the woods?  Man-o-man is it ever so hot here in Texas.  We have a high pressure system sitting right over us and the humidity is a killer!  Who wants to cook out in this heat, not me baby!  I'm inside under the a/c!  


This recipe is quick and easy.  Still eating healthy?  I'm trying to stay away from eating out and eating at home.  Not only is it better for you but it is also easy on your pocket book.  


Here it is...




This is a great way to get that crispy crust on fish without frying in all that oil!  It keeps the fish moist yet having a crunchy crust, and that orange sauce is so flavorful and pairs well with this trype of fish.




The Players for tonight!


Mix Panko crumbs and Herbs de Provence in a large bowl.
Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in another bowl.  


Dredge fish in oil then the crumbs, repeat and press crumbs into the fish. 


Drizzle a little oil over the top.  Place baking sheet in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for ten minutes.  (Pre-heating the pan will result a crispy bottom layer).  Remove baking sheet from the oven; add a little oil on the spot where you will place the fish.  Return pan back into the oven immediately and cook for 12-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillet. (Mine was 1 ½ inch and it took 15 minutes).



Cook in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat the chicken broth, orange juice and orange zest for 10 minutes.  


Prepare slurry of cornstarch and water (well dissolved) and add to hot orange juice mixture and whisk in as it thickens the sauce.  Remove from heat.




Serve fish with orange sauce over and around the fish.


See those crunchy bits, the herbs and the fleck of orange zest.  Oh my!


Can you taste the tangy orange flavor with the buttery halibut and that crunch!  You have to try this recipe, you will be adding it to your favorites, I promise!


The Recipe:

Panko Crusted Halibut with Orange Sauce


½ lb Halibut fillet, skinless
½ c Panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Mix Panko crumbs and Herbs de Provence in a large bowl.
Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in another bowl.  Dredge fish in oil then the crumbs, repeat and press crumbs into the fish. Drizzle a little oil over the top.

Place baking sheet in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for ten minutes.  (Pre-heating the pan will result a crispy bottom layer).  Remove baking sheet from the oven; add a little oil on the spot where you will place the fish.  Return pan back into the oven immediately and cook for 12-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillet. (Mine was 1 ½ inch and it took 15 minutes).

Prepare sauce:

½ cup chicken broth
1 ¼ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup water

Cook in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat the chicken broth, orange juice and orange zest for 10 minutes.  Prepare slurry of cornstarch and water (well dissolved) and add to hot orange juice mixture and whisk in as it thickens the sauce.  Remove from heat.

Serve fish with orange sauce over and around the fish.

Serving size: 2

Happy Eating!



Sunday, July 11, 2010

World Cup Soccer Netherlands vs. Spain

Hup Holland!


Today is the World Cup Finals.  Holland vs Spain.  Of course I am pulling for Holland.  It is on ABC 1:30 CST.  Turn it, fabulous day for the dutch.

Go "Oranje" Go.......




Monday, July 5, 2010

Taco Salad

When it is too hot to grill outside this summer, this salad is the perfect dinner for any family.  It is easy to make and as long as you add your dressing individually, it makes a great leftover for lunch the following day


This salad is so yummy.  It gives me an excuse to eat Fritos! 
I love Fritos....



The Players!


Make taco meat first.




In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef with onion, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper and chili powder.  When browned, drain off fat and set aside to cool.


Assemble Salad:
In a large bowl begin layering in this order – romaine lettuce, grated carrot, chopped red pepper, seeded and chopped tomato, 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, drained Ranch style beans, taco meat, Fritos, remaining ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese. Serve with ranch dressing.



Can you see all the ingredients in this one bite?  Can you taste that creamy ranch dressing, spicy taco meat and ranch style bean, cheese, crunchy romaine, sweet red pepper and the sweet ripe tomato then the crunch of the Frito!
Oh my gosh, this is soooooo goooooood!


And another bite!  Ooo watch that drip of ranch, don't want to weat it!




Taco Salad

8 cups romaine letter, washed and chopped
2 carrots peeled and grated
1 medium sized red bell pepper finely diced
1 large tomato seeded and chopped
1 ½ cup (Tillamook) sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 ½ cups original Fritos
1 15 oz. can Ranch Style beans, drained, not rinsed
(If Ranch style is not available, use Chili beans)



Taco Meat:


¾ lb of ground beef
1/3 cup diced sweet onion
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon chili powder
Ranch dressing

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef with onion, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper and chili powder.  When browned, drain off fat and set aside to cool.

To assemble salad:

In a large bowl begin layering in this order – romaine lettuce, grated carrot, chopped red pepper, seeded and chopped tomato, 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, drained Ranch style beans, taco meat, Fritos, remaining ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese.

Serve with ranch dressing.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberries!


Yea! The season for blueberries is here.  We used to go and pick our own blueberries when we live in Beaverton, Oregon.  It was a fun summer time adventure to roam around on the blueberry farm in Hillsboro with my young daughters in tow.  We would get our basket full and head home thinking we have more than enough to make muffins and pies.  By the time we pulled into the driveway of our house we barely had enough to make muffins.  
Oh well, they were darn good and the muffins were fabulous.  
You know that blueberries are a brain food, no wonder my girls are so smart!


Look how fresh and plump they are! They are going to make great muffins!
These would be great to serve for breakfast on July 4th.



The Players!



In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, 
salt and cinnamon.  



In another bowl, whisk together milk, egg and butter.
Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients, stirring until combined thoroughly.  
Fold in blueberries gently, evenly distributed throughout the batter.



Grease muffin tins with Crisco or use muffin cups.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filing each cup ¾ full. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

 

Look at all those luscious blueberries!



The Recipe:

Blueberry Muffins

1 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup milk
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup blueberries

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  In another bowl, whisk together milk, egg and butter.
Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients, stirring until combined thoroughly.  Fold in blueberries gently, evenly distributed.  Grease muffin tin with Crisco or use muffin cups.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filing each cup ¾ full. Bake in a 400 degree pre-heated oven for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Yield:  8 regular sized muffins or 6 large muffins.

Happy Eating!


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