Tag Archives: Eating in

Recipe: Basil Salt

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Last week, my garden was overrun with basil.  I didn’t know what to do, as the space was competing with tomatoes, and the tomatoes were quickly winning.  It’s a massacre out there for all the other veggies.

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I can hardly tell what is what over there.

I have been doing everything I can to preserve the beautiful basil my garden produced, and this recipe is no different.  Easy and super fast, you can add this salt from everything to tomato and corn salad or cheeses, to pasta dishes and desserts. Basil salt is awesome! It adds just that beautiful freshness to anything it touches, and is beautiful and bright green like the herb that produced it.

It lasts for six months too, so there is plenty of time to taste summer long into winter.

Ingredients

1/2 C tightly packed basil leaves

1/2 C kosher salt

Method

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.  Pulse basil and salt in blender until incorporated.  Mixture will be clumpy.  Spread onto baking sheet lined with parchment or tin foil and bake until dried, about 30 minutes.

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basil salt after drying but before blending for a second time

Take dried salt and pulse again in blender until powder.  Store in airtight container for six months or more.

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Used the salt to top this dish of tomatoes and ricotta cheese. Perfect basil flavor and nice hit of salt

 

-L

 

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Recipe:Stuffed Squash Blossoms

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This summer, I finally decided to tackle something that I have been either too busy, or too afraid to tackle: My very own garden.  I know it sounds silly, but I have dreamed of growing my own food for some time now.  I have to say, it has certainly been a learning experience.  What to grow, and how to grow it, and how to protect it from the environment around it is still something I am learning, and probably will be for seasons to come.

One thing my garden has been very bountiful in giving me is squash blossoms.  While my plants are hit or miss, and have produced some delicious summer squash varieties, I think my favorite thing to collect are the beautiful, golden–yellow flowers that are delicious and earthy in every way.

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This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the blossoms: stuffed with fresh cheese and deep–fried, lightly salted, and eaten with sparkling wine.

Deep Fried Squash Blossoms

6-12 squash blossoms

2 C vegetable or other neutral, high heat oil

For the filling:

1 C ricotta (I used goat’s milk, but cow’s milk is also perfect)

2 Tbsp heavy cream

1 tbsp chopped chives

zest of 1 lemon

lemon juice, salt, pepper to taste

 

For the batter:

6 oz AP flour

3 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp salt

200 ml seltzer water

Method:

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, until bubbling, around 350 degrees F.

Whisk ingredients for batter together and set aside

mix filling ingredients, mixing together until a smooth paste forms.  fill into a pastry bag, or a ziplock bag.  Cut the tip off the pastry bag or a corner off the ziplock bag, so you are able to pipe the filling into the blossom. Try not to overfill, and close each petal around the filling so it forms a nice little pocket.

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Drop each blossom into the batter and directly into the hot oil, frying only a few at a time, about 3 minutes per side.  Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and enjoy!

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This is an amazing summer treat!

-L

 

Recipe: Plum Coffee Cake

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It’s no secret that I’m not the best at baking, mostly because I shy away from trying it. It intimidates me. When I saw this post from StrawberryPlum, however, I had to try it. I love coffee cake, and, ironically, how well it pairs with tea. Figured I’d give it a go, I mean, it’s always a good thing to try something new.
Ingredients
For the topping:
1/4 cup ap flour [$2 for a bag]
1/4 cup brown sugar [$2 for a bag]
Cinnamon [$3]
About a cup chopped pecans [$4 for a bag]
Half a stick unsalted butter, melted [$2 for a pack]

For the cake:
1 1/2 cup ap flour
1 teaspoon baking powder [$2]
1/2 teaspoon baking soda [$3]
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cinnamon, about a tablespoon
6 tablespoons softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs [$1]
1 teaspoon vanilla extract [$3]
1/2 cup sour cream [$1.50 for a small container]
3 or 4 plums, cut into quarters [$3]

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350.
Spray an 8×8 baking pan with Pam or some kind if butter or grease, and set aside.
Make the topping: combine the topping ingredients except the butter in a bowl, then add the butter and mix until combined into crumbs. Set aside.

Make the cake: combine all the dry ingredients except the sugar in a bowl and whisk until combined. In an electric mixer bowl, add the butter and the sugar and beat until whipped and fluffy. Beat the eggs into the mixer, one at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream and best until well mixed.
Add the dry ingredients in the bowl, a little at a time, until incorporated.
I was worried when I read the instructions that I would not know when the batter was ready. Trust me, when you are making the batter, it will be obvious when it has come together.
Scoop the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Add the plums on top in a fun pattern if you choose and then add the topping.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool for a few minutes while you make some tea, then cut and enjoy!

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Super glad I decided to give baking a whirl.

-L

Recipe: Pork Schnitzel

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Being a food blogger sometimes has some major perks. Like opening my door to a box full of bags of free Pretzel Crips. Awesome.

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After mowing my way through a few of the packages, I decided it would be cool to cook with the pretzels in a different way. What’s a better way to use pretzels than to bread some thinly sliced pork cutlets? With a simple arugula salad, this is a quick and easy meal for any night (even cinco de mayo!). Using the mustard flavor compliments the pork and the pretzels are a nice crunch that can be hard to achieve with regular breadcrumbs.

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Ingredients
1 bag pretzel crips mustard flavor (or any flavor) [$4]
1 package thinly sliced pork cutlets [$3]
1 egg [$1]
Ap flour (in most pantries but runs about $3)
Arugula [$3]
Cherry tomatoes [$2]

Directions

Grind the Pretzel Crips in a food processor until crushed. Heat some oil in a pan over medium heat. Pound cutlets til nice and thin, the dip in the flour, then the egg (beaten), and then the Pretzel Crisps. Place cutlets in the hot oil in the pan and cook for about 3 minutes per side, being careful not to let the pretzels burn.
Meanwhile, take the cherry tomatoes and arugula and dress how you would like (personally, I like olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper).
When the cutlets are done, top with the salad and serve.

Happy cinco de mayo!
-L

Recipe: Roasted Salmon with a Dijon-Parsley Potato Cake and a Lemon-Parsley Burre Blanc

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More recently, I’ve decided to push myself and start figuring out some recipes of my own. I really love cooking, and one day I’d like to own a little food stand of my own, so figuring out some recipes and being more creative is really making me happy nowadays. I’ve been really meaning to try making a Burre Blanc, a white wine based butter sauce, also, so I slipped one in this recipe. Turns out, it’s simple to make (despite its fancy name), and super tasty with fish, like this roasted salmon. I made a mashed potato cake also and some fried capers and asparagus, just to make it a full meal. It met with rave reviews (though The Russian might be a touch biased), so try it out for yourself.

Ingredients
Parsley [$1.50]
2 baking potatoes [$2]
Unsalted butter and Dijon mustard, which if had on hand
White wine, any one sitting in your fridge will do
Salmon filets [$7]
Asparagus [$2]
1 lemon [.50 cents]
Capers (I had them on hand, but they normally cost around $3 for a jar)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400.
Make the potato cakes: cut the potatoes into small pieces and put into a pot with boiling salted water for about 10 minutes.
When the potatoes are tender, mash with a little butter, salt, Dijon, parsley, and a touch of milk. Form into cakes and place in a hot pan with oil or butter for about 5 minutes per side. When the cakes are browned, place in the oven to keep warm.
While the potato cakes are cooking, boil the water and cook the asparagus (or any other veggie, now that spring is here the options have really doubled).
Sear the salmon for about 3 minutes then transfer to the oven for 10 minutes.
Make the sauce: take about a half cup of the wine and let boil over heat until only a few tablespoons remain. Then take the wine off the heat and place cubes of the butter (unsalted, about a stick or so), in the wine, whisking constantly until all the butter is melted and the sauce comes together. Add a squeeze of lemon and some chopped parsley and serve with the other ingredients. Make sure to whisk very thoroughly. Quickly fry some capers in olive oil for a salty garnish if desired.

!

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The butter sauce with the salmon, the potato cakes, and the veggies is certainly a filling meal. Enjoy this Easter Sunday!
-L

Recipe: Roast Beef and Endive

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Now that springtime is FINALLY here (for a while there I thought winter would never end), its time for fun light salads that are easy to make and fill you up after a run, or in my case, a challenging yoga class. Endive is a great lettuce, totally under-utilized if you ask me, so I was thrilled when I saw a recipe for an endive salad on Food Network, so I just tweaked it a little and made it a simpler lighter salad.

Ingredients
1/2 lb deli roast beef, thickly sliced [$5]
3 heads endive [$7]
Dijon mustard [$2]
1 shallot [$1]
Parsley [$2]
Smoked Gouda cheese [$6]
Red wine vinegar and olive oil, which are in most pantries

Directions
Thinly slice the shallot and place in a bowl of cold water and let sit while you prepare the other ingredients. Slice the endive and cheese and rough chop the roast beef. Place in a large bowl then prepare the dressing.
Whisk the shallot, some chopped parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Dressing will be a bit chunky with the parsley and shallot, but I think it’s richer this way. Toss dressing with the salad and serve.

A simple springtime salad that can be enjoyed in a rolling field or a park bench in between work or classes. Happy spring everyone!

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-L

Recipe: Greek Style Shrimp and Feta

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This recipe is awesome. I made this for The Russian when we first started dating, and I’m still making it. Every so often he’ll get a gleam in his eye and ask me to make him this dish. It’s that memorable.
It’s also that simple. Juicy shrimp, salty feta, and a hearty tomato sauce is a perfect quick meal with a baguette and a simple salad on the side. This will definitely be a great springtime recipe, so snatch it up, guys. A big thanks to Emril for the great original recipe, which I simplified even more and changed a few ingredients.

Ingredients

Evoo
Minced garlic [.50 cents]
2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes in juice [$3]
Clam juice [$2]
Fresh oregano [$2]
1 small can capers [$2]
Feta [$3]
1 lb shrimp [$8]
1 lemon [.50 cents]
A baguette and simple salad, for serving

Directions

Preheat oven to 450.

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, then add the tomatoes, minced oregano, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, a half cup each capers and clam juice, and a squeeze of lemon. Let cook and flavors marinate for 10 minutes or so.

While the sauce is cooking, heat olive oil in a pan and cook shrimp until just pink, just for a minute or so. They will finish cooking in the oven. Once the sauce has thickened a little, add it to an oven proof dish and nestle shrimp on top. Then add a few handfuls of feta, until the top is nicely covered but not totally covered. Feta doesn’t melt that easily, so think of it more like adding salt than melty cheese.

Place dish in oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through. Serve with crusty bread and a salad and imagine you’re eating this somewhere on the Mediterranean seaside. That’s what I’m doing.

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-L