Avocado, Mozzarella and Tomatoes with Vinaigrette

Summer break is finally here, YES!!! Finally, lazy mornings are back! I love summer.

I will finally be able to catch up on a few new recipes that I prepared but never sat long enough at my computer to share them with all of you.

To kick off the summer we just had a great long weekend spent with dear friends. It was perfect!

Enjoying wonderful food, conversation and laughter. Seeing the kids enjoying their first jump of the season in the pool, even if the water was only 80 ° and apparently a bit cold for them. That is what makes life filled with love in my heart.

It must get to 90 ° before I am brave enough to dare going in. Yes, you read correctly, it has to be warm for me. I live in Arizona after all…

The dish that I am sharing with all of you I have been making it for years now, and each time is always all gone. A delicious summer salad that you can bring to any picnics, pool parties and potlucks. The best thing of it all: you do not have to worry if it is not kept refrigerated. Love that!!

To a great summer… lets the party begin…

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

Avocado, mozzarella and tomatoes with vinaigrette

 

AVOCADO, MOZZARELLA AND TOMATOES WITH VINAIGRETTE

½ cup olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

3 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, cubed

4 tomatoes, cut in chunks and seeds removed

15 oz fresh mozzarella in water, drained, cubed

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Whisk first 3 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add avocados, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil to toss. Season with salt and pepper.

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Green Beans Gremolata

The past week-end we attended a foodies cooking group party. I always enjoy attending them. The rules are simple: Each couples have to bring a dish and share the ingredients and the instructions with the group. I had a choice between a salad and a side dish. I selected the side dish and the Green Beans Gremolata was the first dish that came to mind.

It sure was a great decision as the whole dish was gone and I was happy to hear how everyone had enjoyed it.

Last night we needed a vegetable dish to go with our bone in pork chop. Right there and then it was decided to remake the green beans gremolata for us at home.

This dish, you can eat it either hot off the skillet, or cold. I personally prefer it cold.

The squeeze of lemon at the last-minute gives it a nice final touch and enhances all the flavors.

Easy to make and healthy.

Bon Appetit!

Giangi

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GREEN BEANS GREMOLATA

1 pound French green beans, end trimmed

2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil

2 tablespoon lemon juice

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch them for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender but still crisp. Drain the beans in a colander and immediately put them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color.

For the gremolata, toss the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, parmesan, and pine nuts in a small bowl and set aside.

When ready to serve, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Drain the beans and pat them dry. Add the beans to the pan and sauté, turning frequently, for 2 minutes, until coated with olive oil and heated through.

Remove from the heat, add the gremolata and toss well.

Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve.

green beans gremolata photshop

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Vegetarian Quiche

School is out, triple digits are in. Finally catching up on all my dinner that I did not post.

I will start with this simple and yet very delicious Vegetarian Quiche. Perfect for lunch and dinner and enjoying it with a nice chilled glass of white wine.
Green salad as a side, and ice cream to top off a perfect evening.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

Tonight’s dinner:

Vegetarian Quiche
Green Salad
Vanilla Ice cream with Blackberries in sugar

VEGETARIAN QUICHE

1 Puff pastry sheet (Pepperidge Farm), thawed
4 tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas thawed
1 teaspoon sugar
½ of a can of artichoke hearts
4 eggs
1 ½ -cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1-tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven at 400°
Roll out the puff pastry sheet to fit a 9” pie dish. Butter and flour the pie dish. Place the pasty and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile peel cut and removes all seed from the tomatoes. Chop them roughly, salt and pepper them.
Add the peas, artichoke and tomatoes to the puff pastry.
Beat together the eggs, heavy cream and the Gruyere cheese and pour over the vegetables.
Lower the heat to 375° and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and the eggs mixture is solid.

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin

Coming home late and wanting to prepare a new recipe , can be a recipe for disaster. I have been wanting to prepare this great cauliflower gratin from Bobby Flays’s “Bar Americain Cookbook” for a while now, but every time I read the recipe I got discourage because it was  too late to start  and I did not have the time necessary to donate to it. Re reading the recipe  I decided it to modify it and make it more school night friendly.
Steaming the cauliflowers was a quick short cut that eliminate a good 20 minutes from the oven cooking and could be done alongside preparing the béchamel sauce. And voila, what was supposed to be an over one hour meal preparation it was done in less than 45 minutes.
We served alongside a nice bone in pork chop.

TIP: * Life lesson from my grandmother: when cooking cauliflower,  squeeze a teaspoon of lemon in the water, or place some slices of lemon in the water. The lemon will absorb the smell that we are not too fond of.

* Make sure the cauliflower is not to cook but still has a bite or the whole plate will become mush.
* Using regular goat cheese is fine, actually that is what was required on the original recipe. I did not have any on hand.
* Use a good Monterey Jack cheese that is not too high on fat content.
Bon Appetit!!!

Giangi

Tonight’s January 23, 2014 dinner:

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin
Bone in Pork Chop

 

CAULIFLOWER AND GOAT CHEESE GRATIN

2 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
2 -3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoon flour
1 ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
6 oz. herbed goat cheese, cut in small pieces
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets, and each florets cut in half

Preheat oven to 350° and butter a 10 inch gratin baking dish.
Steam the cut cauliflower until slightly tender. Remove from heat and place in a dish to cool off.
Meanwhile in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat melt butter and whisk in the flour. Stir to blend and cook for I minute. Gradually add the milk while whisking constantly until the mixture has thickened.
Remove from heat and add the Monterey cheese, ¾ of the goat cheese and ½ of the Parmesan cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the sauce over the cauliflower and stir well.
Place the cheese and cauliflower mixture into the buttered gratin dish and top with remaining goat cheese and Parmesan cheese.
Place the gratin dish over a cookie sheet (for spillage) and bake until the cauliflower is tender and the top bobbly and golden brown.
Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Orange Roughy with Capers, Garlic and Vermouth

Not having all the ingredients on hand last night I just improvised a sauce for the orange roughy. Simple, fast and tasty, a must try  at this time of the year.

Green salad with yellow and red pepper and quick potatoes gratin. Easy side dishes.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

Tonight’s December 27, 2012 dinner:

Orange roughy with capers, garlic and Vermouth

Quick potatoes gratin

Salad with orange-red bell peppers

Orange roughy with capers, garlic and vermouth

 

4 pieces of orange roughy fish

4 tablespoons of butter

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

½ cup sweet dry white Vermouth

2 Tbsp. capers

Salt and pepper

 

In a frying pan put 3 tablespoons butter and cook until melted and starts to bubble. Add the pieces of fish and gently brown  on both sides.

Add to the pan the sweet vermouth, garlic, the capers and  salt and pepper.  Scrape any bits of the pan and cook until the sauce start to bind.

Remove the fish from the pan when done and rest covered on a dish.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet and swirl it around until it melts.

Serve over the fish.

 

Better late than never…

I have been having some difficulties uploading my pictures into my computer from my camera and therefore  I have not been able to post as I wanted. There is a lesson to be learned  on keeping up with new updates…. Now all is fixed and working like a charm.

As promised from my Thanksgiving posting, yes…. I know is kind of late…. but better late than never…, here are some pictures.

I love the Brussels sprouts with caramelized shallots and will have that again for any occasion, and most definitely for Christmas dinner.

Enjoy!!!!

Giangi

 

CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH APRICOTS, RAISINS AND ORANGE

4 cups cranberry (about 1 1/3 12-ounce package)

2 cups sugar

1 cup chopped dried apricots

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup water

1 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Combine all ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat, cover and boil until cranberry pop, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cold ( mixture will thicken as it cools). Can be made 4 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Makes about 41/2 cups.

 

BRUSSELS SPROUT HASH WITH CARAMELIZED SHALLOTS

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided

½ pound shallots, thinly sliced

Salt

2 tablespoons cognac vinegar

4 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup water

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes. Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts with a mandoline (1/8 inch). Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprout sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter. Sauté until most of water evaporated and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

There are so many wonderful peoples, great successes, amazing things that had happened in my life and that I am grateful and thankful for.  Would love to list them all, but there is not enough space on this page to write them all down.

With that said, I do however want to send my love and gratitude to my family, my friends.  Your love and support is wonderful and fills my heart everyday with strength. Thank you and I love you.

To all of you my readers and followers a huge thank you for making this journey fun and exciting. Your support, comment, encouragements are greatly appreciate it.

But most of all to my sweet boy. You are growing so fast and so beautifully. I love the boy you are becoming. I love your pure heart, I love your laughter. Everyday I am thankful to be your mom. I love you.

To all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your special loved one.

Giangi

This is the menu that I will be preparing for this Thanksgiving 2012.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2012

Turkey with chestnut stuffing

Shiitake mushrooms gravy

Orange Cranberry sauce

Mashed potatoes with horseradish

Brussels sprouts with caramelized shallots

Brown butter apple tart

I am enclosing some of the recipes with today and will post pictures tomorrow.

Chestnut stuffed turkey

2 onions, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 oz. of bacon slices, cut in thin strips

8 oz. sausage meat

1 breakfast sausage, casing removed

1 apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

Equal pinch of: cinnamon, dry mustard, pepper, gloves)

24 Steamed chestnuts

1 turkey, cleaned and patted dry

Thick bacon slices

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Preheat the oven at 375º.
In a large skillet heat the butter and add the onions and the bacon strips.  Add the sausage meat and the sausage. Continue cooking and separating the pork meats with a spatula.

Add the apple to the meat.  Season with salt and pepper. Add the spices and mix well.

Remove from the heat and add the steamed chestnuts. Work the stuffing lightly to well incorporate the meat and chestnuts, but not mashed them.

Stuffed the turkey’s neck with the above stuffing. Close the opening. Place in a large cooking pan over a roast rack.  Slightly oil the turkey with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cover the turkey’s breast with the thick bacon slices.  Cover slight with aluminum foil. Cook approximately 20 minutes per pound.

Poke with a fork once in a while to let the juices run form the breast and tight area.

Baste with white wine and any juices from the bottom of the pan.

When done remove from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes or so.

Serve alongside apple slices sautéed with butter and warm steamed chestnuts.

 

SHIITAKE MUSHROOM GRAVY

½ cup all purpose flour

½ dry Sherry

3 tablespoons butter

12 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried

 

4 cups (about) low salt chicken broth

1/3 cup whipped cream

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried

 

Mix flour and Sherry in a small bowl until smooth paste forms.  Melt butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and rosemary: sauté until mushrooms begin to soften, about 3 minutes.  (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead.) Cover flour paste lightly.  Let paste and mushrooms stand at room temp.

 

Transfer pan juices to 8-cup glass measuring cup.  Spoon off fat and discard. Add enough chicken broth to pan juices to measure 5 cups; add to saucepan with mushrooms.  Add flour paste and whisk to combine.  Bring mixture to boil, stirring frequently.  Boil until thickened to light gravy, about 10 minutes.  Mix in cream, thyme, and tarragon.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve with turkey.

BRUSSELS SPROUT WITH CARAMELIZED SHALLOTS

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided

½ pound shallots, thinly sliced

Salt

2 tablespoons cognac vinegar

4 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup water

 

 

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes.  Add vinegar and sugar.  Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.  Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts with a mandoline (1/8 inch). Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprout sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes.  Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter.  Sauté until most of water evaporated and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes.  Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper.