Thursday, July 30, 2009

What i Had For Dinner!: VEGGIETASTIC!

Summer's Glorious Bounty!




Fresh from the Ferry Building Farmer's Market... Carrots, Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn on the cob, served with my favorite Chipotle Ranch Dressing and butter for the corn. Super YUM!



Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blue Cheese Cottage Pie: Comfort Food With a Twist!

Cottage Pie With Blue Cheese 
Baked up!





Or i needed to clean out my fridge, and i happened to have: potato, beef and blue cheese (leftover from burgers), and carrots that simply needed to go. Yes, that is correct, Cottage pie. i know that is is not exactly summer fare, but it was pretty chilly the night i made it, so it's ok. What is cottage pie? It is a dish made with beef and topped with mashed potatoes. See definition here. In many cases it is also topped with cheese.


In this version i used The fabulous Bayley Hazen Blue, a milder blue made in Vermont by Jasper Hill Farms. See substitutions for other ideas on how to clean you fridge with this pie. Har Har. Anyhow, enjoy.




The Recipe:
This made one Large Bowl of pie, fit for two.
one large potato
one carrot
one very small onion or half a medium onion
1/4 pound ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 cup water
1 tsp better than bullion or bullion cube
1 1/2 tsp water
2 Tbs Butter
1/4 cup milk
2 0z  crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 350*. Cut potato into large dices, boil in salt water till soft, about 10-15 minutes. cut carrot and onion to very small dice. Brown Ground beef over medium heat till half cooked, still pink inside. (This keeps the meat tender, it will cook through in the gravy and in the oven.) add garlic, thyme, cook about one minute. Add Diced carrots, broth or water, flour, whisk till mixed well. Cover and simmer for about ten minuets, enough time to prepare the crust.  Strain Potatoes, place back in pot. Add Butter, and milk, mash. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon simmering Beef into bowl (or bowls). cover with mashed potato, sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered for about thirty minutes, or until filling is bubbly and cheese is melted. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Substitutions:

Feel free to add more veggies to the beef sauce, typical additions are: mushrooms or celery, but you could also try kale, sweet potatoes, turnips, celery root, and varietal mushrooms.

Also, if you don't have Blue cheese (you should get some) or don't feel like being adventurous enough to try Cottage Pie with blue cheese, you can use cheddar. I give you permission. But you better make it a good cheddar! ok?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Strawberry Pizza: The Fruits of Summer

Strawberry Pizza
Inspired By Uncle Michael's Recipe




When i was a kid, my Uncle Michael would throw a BBQ every SUNDAY during the summer. Like religion. Once in a while he would make this dish, Strawberry Pizza and serve it for everyone. It was always the biggest hit, and was gone almost immediately. Once my uncle asked me to make it for him, and i got to learn the recipe. Over the years since then, i have modified the recipe quite a bit, and here it now is. i hope you enjoy this recipe as much as i do, and i am sure if you share it with anyone, it will be a big hit for you also!




The Recipe:
Serves about 4. But this stuff is really hard to share.

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup Flour
1/4 cup sugar

4 oz Cream Cheese, softened or Fromage Blanc
1/4 cup sugar

1 tbs heavy cream (or milk)
1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar

* Freshly whipped cream (optional)

Prepare Crust:
Heat oven to 350*. Prepare 9" round cake pan with a parchment lining. Melt Butter in a microwave safe container. set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Add butter, mix with whisk till as dough forms. Press dough into an even layer onto the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, till golden. Be sure to watch the crust carefully when it is in the oven, the crust burns very easily after about 8 minutes. Here is a hint, when you smell it, it is probably done.
Prepare Spread:
In a bowl, mix together cream cheese, sugar, and cream till smooth. set aside.
Once the crust has baked and fully cooled, Remove carefully from pan and place on a flat surface. Spread cream cheese in an even layer over crust. Top with strawberries, and whipped cream if you like. Serve.

Additions:
This recipe is great for any fresh berry of summer, i also like to use raspberries or blueberries, but any mix of the three will turn out nice. You can also try a drizzle of Nutella. 

Hope you are enjoying this last stretch of Summer!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mexican Rice: Tasty Side For Mexican Foods

Mexican Rice
About as Tasty as Rice Can Get


    The traditional mexcian staple, as cooked by me. i love to use fresh wholesome ingredients when i can, and you should too. There was not a tomato in my pantry this time, nor fresh garlic, but i am posting this anyway because it shows how you can make do without. This is more like how everyone in my family makes it because of that. So if you can, some diced tomato, fresh onion, fresh garlic, are wonderful for this recipe.
    Serve Mexican Rice as a side dish to any mexican food, stuff into a burrito, or top a tostada with it. This is Michael's favorite thing that i make- and he has tasted almost everything that i make. Try it yourself!





The recipe:

1 cup Jasmine rice (basmati or "long grain" also work well)
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 medium onion, chopped to 1/2" pieces
1tbs tomato paste
1 and 1/2 cups water or broth
1 and 1/2 tsp chicken paste or bullion for two cups (if using water)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried garlic or 1 clove minced fresh garlic
fresh black pepper to taste.

directions:
heat saucepan over medium high heat, add rice and oil, cook, stirring occasionally to brown as much of the rice as possible.after about three minutes, add onions, stir to coat, cook till soft, stirring often. Add tomato (paste, sauce, fresh, or canned diced). Stir till sizzling stops. Add liquid and seasonings, taste, bring to simmer. Lower heat, cover and cook till liquid is gone and rice is fluffy, about 15 minutes. Serve!


Substitutions:
-Brown Rice a great way to amp up the health factor of this flavorful and fun side dish is to make it with brown rice. Believe it or not, the brown rice version is a bit easier to prepare. Change these ingredient amounts:
1cup brown rice
2 cups water or broth
change these steps: saute onion only. do not cook rice, or it will be too tough to cook. add liquid, rice and seasoning, simmer, lower heat, cover and cook as usual.
-Tomato Sauce exchange 1/4 cup tom sauce for water or broth, omit tomato paste.
-Canned diced tomatoes add 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes, change tomato paste to 1 tsp.

Additions:
-Fresh Tomato add half a medium tomato (diced) to sizzling rice and onions before adding liquid.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Banana Nut bread: When Bananas Get Too Old !

Banana Nut Bread


What can i say? i love a good bit of banana nut bread, and i hate to see any amount of food go to waste. So i make this recipe everytime i have one too many bananas on hand. They get overripe before you know it. This recipe calls for two bananas and can easily be split or doubled. A healthy dessert since it is made with banana and olive oil rather than butter and tons of sugar. i dunno, i love it, and i make it almost once a month.




The recipe:
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup oilve oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350*. Prepare pan with butter and flour, as shown. Whisk together Flour, Salt, Baking powder and Soda in a bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mush Bananas together with olive oil. Add sugar, beat thoroughly. Add pecans to flour mixture. Stir in banana mixture. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Substitutions:
-you may of course, substitute any oil for olive oil. Also i am sure melted butter would be pretty nice, but i have yet to try it.
-Some people prefer Walnuts in their Banana Nut Bread. This is most certainly up to you. Personally, i like the softer and sweeter flavor or pecans, they also are a little less greasy. Walnuts are bitter, and i just don't like them that much.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Calabasa: Zucchini with Corn and Cheese

Calabasa





Calabasa( "Kah-lah-bah-sah") just means Squash in spanish. This is a dish my grandma made frequently in the summer months when there was plenty of zucchini and tomatoes in the garden, and fresh corn was easy to find. Very simple to prepare, and stars a great combo of summertime ingredients, Zucchini, Tomato, and Corn. Serve this dish as a side dish for BBQ's, Mexican foods, or as an easy and light entree'.


Calabasa Recipe
Entree for two, or side dish for four.

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cob fresh corn, de- cobbed
1 tomato, diced *see substitutions
1 1/2 lbs zucchini and or summer squash, sliced

1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs chicken paste or 1 bullion cube
1/2 tsp cumin, ground
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup sharp cheddar grated or sliced (shown with slices of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar of Vermont)

Saute onions in oil over medium heat till soft. add sliced zucchini, cook till browned. add garlic, tomatoes, corn, cook 3 minutes. whisk tomato paste and chicken paste into water till dissolved. add to zucchini. heat to simmer, add cumin and pepper. reduce heat to low, simmer 8 minutes, or till squash are soft. remove from heat, top with cheese cover and allow to rest for at least five minutes. serve.

Substitutions:
-you can use 1 can corn instead of fresh corn. Drain corn, reserve liquid, use corn liquid in addition to water to enhance corn sweetness in broth.
-*sometimes i use only fresh tomatoes if i dun have paste, and sometimes i use only paste if i don;t have fresh, but if i have both, i use both.
-also, you can use garlic powder if you dun have fresh garlic.

I genuinely hope that you enjoy this recipe!
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