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.

Avocado, mozzarella and tomatoes with vinaigrette 2 copy

Pecorino Crusted Chicken With Arugula and Mixed Baby Green Salad

It’s a gorgeous Sunday morning. The windows are opens and the crisp air fills the rooms. The birds are singing welcoming a new day as I admire the gorgeous full moon that is still gracing the sky with her presence. I love this time of day.

The house is still so quiet, perfect time to plan my day and week, time to catch up.

We had a busy week and a couple of nights ago we prepared this new dish, Pecorino Crusted Chicken with Arugula and Mixed Green Salad. Fast, great flavors blending well together and the salad is a must. Crisp and bitter arugula mixes well with the baby green that are a bit sweet and with the mustard …. I am letting your taste buds enjoy the combination.

Bon Appetit!!!

Giangi

 

Pecorino Crusted Chicken copy

 

PECORINO CRUSTED CHICKEN WITH ARUGULA AND MIXED BABY GREEN SALAD

3 teaspoons Dijon mustard

3 teaspoons olive oil

½ teaspoon finely chopped thyme

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Salt and pepper

½ cup grated pecorino cheese

¼ cup Gruyère cheese grated

½ teaspoon water

4 cups mixed arugula and mixed baby greens

1 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 475°. In a small bowl, whisk 2 teaspoons of the mustard with 2 teaspoons Of the olive oil and they thyme. Season the chicken with salt and pepper then brush with the mustard mixture all over.

Pat 2 tablespoons of the pecorino and Gruyère cheese mixture all over the chicken thighs.

Transfer the chicken to a rimmed lined with aluminum foil baking sheet.

Bake the chicken on the top shelf of the oven for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until cooked thru and nicely browned.

In a bowl combine the remaining olive oil and mustard and stir in the water.

Add the arugula and the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and toss well.

Spoon the salad onto plates, top with chicken and serve

Shrimps and Pasta Surprise

Often I wait until there is nothing left in the refrigerator to go grocery shopping. With that said, I am also faced with the dilemma of using what is left to create a meal with it. Tonight I had some help from my son and this is all it came down to it.

Son: Mom, what’s for dinner tonight?

Mom: Honey, open the refrigerator

Son: Ok!!! So…. (staring at the refrigerator) what’s for dinner?

Mom: Open the vegetables bin and tell me what we have

Son: Tomatoes, carrots, broccolis, basil, parsley, thyme….

Mom: Well… That, is what’s for dinner tonight.

Son: All vegetables???? But I am hungry.

Mom: No worries, I can add some pasta or rice to that, what do you prefer?

Son: Pasta and not all those veggies

Mom: Sorry!! Veggies it is ( happy smile)

Son: Mom, remind me of this conversation next time I ask what’s for dinner.

Mom: Why?? This is fun

Son: … Yes, mom…. I am happy you are having fun….

Dinner was created as I was going along and that was fun, and yes, he ate it all if you wonder and asked for seconds. Indeed, I am a happy mom.

Bon Appetit!

Giangi

shrimp pasta primavera 2 copy

 

SHRIMPS AND PASTA SURPRISE

¼ of an onion thinly sliced

2 heads of broccolis, florets separate and leave 1 inch of steam

4 carrots, peeled and made into ribbons – see video insert for instructions

1 garlic clove, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 container cherry tomatoes halved

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

1 tables  basil, Julienne

1 pound of uncooked, de-Shelled, deveined, tail off shrimps

1 pound of Bucatini pasta – I used De Cecco

Bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package instructions for timing. 2 minutes’ prior of the end of cooking add the broccolis florets into the boiling pot. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile in a large skillet add the oil and the garlic clove over medium heat. When the olive oil is hot add the onion. Sautee for 3 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

Add the carrots and parsley. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the cherry tomatoes and the shrimps and mix well until the shrimps are cooked thru.

Sprinkle with basil and add the pasta with broccolis.

Mix well and serve hot.

Vegetarian Cobb Salad

I have been asked quite frequently if I prepare vegetarian dishes. The first dish that came to mind is one of my favorite, which rarely I make at home, is the Cobb salad. So here is what I came up to make it completely vegetarian.

The vinaigrette is something that I created. There are many shallot vinaigrette recipes out there, but I wanted something that was smooth and creamy with my salad. Of course you can play with the powerfulness of the shallot by following the recipe or by softening the pungent flavor of the shallot by adding more olive oil.

The great plus, you will have almost a cup of it and it stores well in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Love the convenience of it all.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

Vegetarian Cobb Salad 1 copy

Vegetarian cobb salad

Butter lettuce, washed and pulled apart into bite size pieces

Cherry tomatoes, halved

½ avocado per person, sliced

Hardboiled egg, 1 per person

Bleu Cheese, crumbled

French baguette, sliced and slightly toasted

Shallot vinaigrette

In a large salad bowl, place the tomatoes and the butter lettuce. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of shallot vinaigrette and mix gently well.

Place the salad on a serving plate and add the hardboiled egg, avocado slices and the crumble blue cheese. Add a touch of the vinaigrette in top of the egg.

Spread some of the blue cheese on the toasted French baguette and serve alongside.

Vegetarian Cobb Salad 4 copy

SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

1 small to medium side shallot

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (rice vinegar will be fine too)

½ olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until all the shallot is gone. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If too thick or too pungent (shallot can be quite strong) add more oil to reach the wanted consistency and flavor.

This will make up to a cup of shallot vinaigrette. Can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Vegetarian Cobb Salad 2 copy

Lentil Salad with Pork Tenderloin

New cooking books have graced my shelves thanks to my dear friends gifting them to me. Yes, I added two wonderful French cooking books to my collection. I know what are you thinking:” Another cookbook? Don’t you have enough?” Well…. If you ask me, we never do. At least, I never do, the more the merrier, but I am funny like that. But then, cooking has this ever-changing life and growth, and that, is the beauty of cooking.

Tonight dinner is an adaption from “the Best recipes in less than 20 minutes of preparation”. And preparation can get the best of all of us sometimes. No one enjoys spending hours preparing a meal on a week night while everyone is going in every directions and your day was filled with activities, that the only thought in your mind is to enjoy the couch and hopefully having the control of the TV remote.

When I prepared this dish I made notes on how to improve the preparation of it and to make it easier to follow and execute, and here is what I  am sharing with you.

TIP: To shorten the cooking time of pork tenderloin, I suggest cutting it in half. By doing so, you insure that the middle part that takes the longest to cook, is cooked properly. If you choose not to do so, then start cooking the meat half way thru the cooking time of the lentils.

About the lentils, do not use the regular brown lentils. The consistency is not the same as well as the flavor. All specialty grocery stores now have French green du Puy lentils.

This is an all in one meal with left overs, as we did.

Enjoy!!

Giangi

We purchase all our meat thru Pete at pete@personalgourmetfoods.com

Lentil salad with Pork Tenderloin 3 copy

 

Lentil salad with pork tenderloin

1 cup of green du Puy lentils

1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

5 tablespoons of olive oil

9 ounces’ mushrooms, thinly sliced

Zest of 1 lemon

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

1 pound of pork tenderloin, fat and skin removed

½ cup red wine

4 ounces’ baby spinach, rinsed

16 cherry tomatoes, halved

Salt and pepper

½ lemon juice (optional)

In a bowl add the remaining olive oil, the lemon zest, garlic and rosemary. Salt and pepper the mix and add the pork tenderloin. Turn the pork tenderloin to make sure all sides are covered with the mixture.

Fill a large pot of water and add the lentils and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a slow simmer and cook for another 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and cooked. Rinse and set aside.

Meanwhile in a large salad bowl, mix the Dijon mustard and the balsamic vinegar. Add the salt and pepper and 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Whisk the sauce together until smooth. Add the mushroom and the lentils. Mix well and let it rest.

In a skillet over medium heat sear the pork tenderloin until all sides are golden, around 15 minutes. Insert a knife into tenderloin to insure the meat is cooked and no juices are running out. Take it off the heat and place in a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Return the skillet to medium heat, add the red wine and deglaze the skillet. Pour the mixture over the mushroom and the lentils. Mix well. Add the spinach and cherry tomatoes and stir well.

Cut the meat in small rounds and add to the spinach lentil salad bowl.

Sprinkle the ½ lemon juice over the whole dish and serve.

Lentil salad with Pork Tenderloin marinang copy

The pork tenderloin marinating

Lentil salad with Pork Tenderloin in plate

Lentil salad with Pork Tenderloin 2 copy

Linguine with Spring Tomato Sauce

Spring is here and we are very fortunate to have such a vast selection of fresh fruits and vegetables nicely displayed at our groceries stores that it makes it fun to cook. On my last trip to the grocery store, and that is a daily occurrence, I picked up some wonderfully fragrant tomatoes to make a fresh, and yet, light tomato sauce.

While you can warm up the fresh tomatoes during the cooking process, I decided to cook mine slightly longer and add fresh cherry tomatoes at the last-minute. We enjoyed the consistency and full flavor.

For the fish, we placed a bed of grapefruits on the cookie sheet, small change from the usual lemons  because I have a huge tree in the backyard.

The combination of the flavors between the pasta and the fish, married well.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

Tonight’s April 14, 2016 dinner:

Linguine with Spring Tomato Sauce wit Cod with Shallot and Parsley.

spring tomato sauce 2 copy

LINGUINE WITH SPRING TOMATO SAUCE

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove peeled

4 medium tomatoes, skin scored on the bottom and around the middle part

¼ onion, peeled and thinly sliced

3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian flat leaves parsley

1 cup of cherry tomatoes, left whole

Salt and pepper

1 pound of Linguine pasta from De Cecco

Pecorino cheese

Finley sliced basil leaves

In a large pot bring water to a boil. Place the tomatoes that have been scored with a knife on the bottom and around them. Boil for 5 minutes or until the skin is peeling off the tomatoes. Remove from heat, peel and dice.

In a large pot over medium heat, add the oil, the onion and the parsley and cook until the onion is translucent.

Add the tomatoes to the onion mixture and cook for to 20 minutes. Salt and pepper.

Add the whole cherry tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes or until the cherry tomatoes are tender.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until al dente. Drain and place the cooked linguine back in the pot, and add 2 table spoons of butter and mix well.

Place the pasta in a large bowl, add the tomatoes sauce and cover with Pecorino cheese.

Sprinkle with basil and serve immediately.

spring tomato sauce copy

 

COD WITH SHALLOT AND PARSLEY

1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped

¼ cup of finely chopped flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 rind of a grapefruit

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 grapefruit

Salt and pepper

1 grapefruit cut in very thin slices

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved

4 cod fillets

Preheat the oven at 375°. Cover the bottom of a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place the sliced grapefruits slices over the aluminum foil  and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the cod fillets over it. Make sure they do not overlap.

Over medium heat place a small skillet with olive oil. Once warm add the shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the parsley, grapefruit rind and juices from lemon and grapefruits. Sautee for 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Spread mixture over fish and place the cherry tomatoes over the whole dish.

Place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until done.

Serve hot.

Cod with Shallot and Parsley copy

And here is the whole dish. Not the best light unfortunately.  Enjoy!

Dinner 04-12-16

Fillets of Cod Piccata with Artichoke Hearts, Tomatoes and Green Olives

Throughout our travels we look for restaurants that are away from the touristic path, and venture out to where the locals enjoy great food, local flavors and great chefs that have fun and love what they do. A fun and delightful experience each and every time.

The base of this recipe started on a trip that we took years ago while we stopped at this quaint restaurant in Corpus Christi, Texas. Throughout the years we enjoyed it over and over on those busy late nights of homework and all sorts of after school activities.

Having a couple of extra minutes and seen that I just bought some fresh cod, I wanted to have fun with new flavors.

So here a new version of an old-time favorite. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

FILLETS OF COD PICCATA WITH ARTICHOKE HEARTS, TOMATOES AND GREEN OLIVES

4 large Cod fillets

Salt and Pepper

All-purpose flour

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

¼ cup dry white wine

1 tsp. minced garlic

½ cup chicken broth

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. capers, drained

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

½ cup marinated artichoke hearts

¼ cup marinated green olives, chopped

2 diced fresh tomatoes

Chopped fresh parsley

Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper, then dust with flour.

In a skillet add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and heat over medium-high.

Sauté the cod fillets 2-3 minutes on one side. Flip the cod fillets over and sauté the other side 1-2 minutes. Transfer the cod fillets to a warmed platter; pour off the fat from the pan.

Deglaze pan with wine and add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add broth, lemon juice, artichoke hearts, diced tomatoes, chopped olives and capers and cook until the juice is halved and tomatoes are soft.

Add the remaining butter and return cod fillets with any juices to pan and cook on each side for 1 minute.

Transfer to a warm plates and serve immediately.