Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fresh Summer Minestrone

The temperatures have gotten back to normal, so we had Fresh Summer Minestrone for dinner tonight. The recipe was found in the La Cucina app I installed a while back on the iPad. Sadly, La Cucina no longer is published. But we still have the recipe on the app, thankfully.

This soup uses ingredients you can find at your farmers market. I luckily had cooked Pinto beans in the freezer. Score! And I did notice someone going back for a couple of extra helpings. But that's okay because there are only 198 calories per serving. So Mangia!

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cooked borlotti or pinto beans
1/2 pound new or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 small carrots, cut into ½-inch pieces
3 medium tomatoes
1 cup fresh corn kernels (cut from about 1 medium ear of corn)
2 ounces spinach leaves, trimmed and sliced into thin strips (2 cups)
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
2 heaping tablespoons mixed minced herbs such as basil, marjoram, thyme and flat-leaf parsley

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the boiling water: bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, add the potato and carrot: cook until the potato and carrot are tender.

Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop tomatoes into water and boil 30 seconds; drain, peel, seed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

Add the tomato, corn, beans and spinach; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve or room temperature, drizzled with oil and sprinkled with herbs and  extra pepper.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Tale of Two Calzones

Whose was the best Calzone? The bacon, onion and prosciutto or the spinach, zucchini and onion. Guess who had which. I used the Jim Lahey recipe for the crust. But this time they were so crisp. I baked them on Sunday and Chris heated them up on the grill. Yes and suddenly it is summer again. We did not want to heat up the kitchen by turning on the oven. They were wrapped in foil and place on the grill. Did that help make the crust amazingly crispy?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Roasted Sausage, Peppers and Onions

Keep it simple Monday. I mixed sliced onions, red and green peppers and sweet Italian sausage with olive oil, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Stir half way through the cooking time. I added a cup of marinara sauce and roasted for another 10 minutes. Simple and delicious.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday Night Frittatta

The simplest of dinners. Great way to use up things in the fridge.
Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Onions, Red Pepper and Prosciutto. 
Eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. 
And there is enough left over for lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Homemade Popsicles

Today Anna and Andrew paid us a visit. Actually, I think they came to see Archie and Lucy.

I make a Stromboli filled with zucchini, onion, Prosciutto and Hot Capicola as an appetizer. Nice flavors. The Spicy Capicola was a nice addition. We had something super easy for lunch. Hot Dogs. It was something I knew they would both like. Andrew even had 2! I made the Friselle con pomodoro as a side dish. Yeah, I do love that recipe.

For dessert I tried something different.

Homemade Popsicles with Fruit, Cream Cheese, Greek Yogurt which I had pinned from The Italian Dish blog. These were simple to make. They were very good, but I did pick up a couple of cupcakes from Meriano's Bakery for the kids just in case. I think they were happy with the option.

Homemade Popsicles with Fruit, Cream Cheese, Greek Yogurt recipe from The Italian Dish blog.

I made 8 popsicles, I happened to have just enough fruit in the house for  the 8. This recipe makes 24.

You will need 24 3-ounce Dixie cups and 24 popsicle sticks

For the fruit purees:

16 ounces fresh strawberries, leafy tops removed
8 tablespoons confectioners sugar, divided
20 ounces fresh blueberries

For the cream cheese/yogurt layer:

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup plain Greek yogurt

Place strawberries and 4 tablespoons sugar in a food processor and process until pureed.  Scrape out the puree and pour into a bowl - don't bother to clean the processor.  Place the blueberries and 4 tablespoons sugar in the processor and puree.  Empty into another bowl.

Place the softened cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar and yogurt into a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend well.

Make the popsicles:  Place the Dixie cups on a sheet that will fit into your freezer. Pour a scant tablespoon of the blueberry puree into each of the cups.  For the second layer, place a level tablespoon of yogurt filling into the cups.  I like to do this with two spoons - it makes it easier, scraping the filling off from one spoon into the cup. With the back of a spoon, smooth down the yogurt layer so it's level.  For the third layer, place a level tablespoon of strawberry puree on top of the yogurt filling.  For the final layer, place a rounded teaspoon of blueberry puree on top.  Place a popsicle stick in each cup and place in the freezer at least 3 hours or until firm.

To serve, remove from freezer and let sit about 10 minutes. You can gently squeeze out the popsicles or just tear off the paper with care.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Friselle con pomodoro

For me is this time of year when you should be eating tomatoes. Eating tomatoes with every meal. I have found a recipe that I and I think Chris too could eat every night. Friselle con pomodoro. I found the recipe on The Short Lists. I made this using the tomatoes from our little tomato plant on our deck. Thank God the deer cannot climb the stairs. The basil and parsley were from our plants on the deck. It was delicious. The seasonings were spot on and the Friselle had the perfect amount of black pepper.

Friselle (store bought or homemade)
5 ripe tomatoes, chopped into small cubes
2 teaspoons capers (non pareilles)
Black olives, chopped
A big glug of extra virgin olive oil
A splash of balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Fresh herbs – oregano or basil or both

Place all the ingredients (except the friselle) in a large bowl. Add the herbs, olives, capers and salt and pepper to taste. If you let it all sit for a bit — even as little as 15 minutes — a nice amount of juice will form on the bottom of the bowl. When you’re almost ready to serve the friselle, arrange them on a serving tray (I think a cheese or cutting board works well). (If you have really big frislle, you can break them into manageable pieces before soaking and topping them.)

Spoon some of the tomato juice onto each one; you want them to be soft enough to bite into. You will probably also want to give each friselle (or piece of friselle) a good dose of olive oil. If they’re not soft enough after you’ve used up all the tomato juices, add a small amount of cold water. Remember, though, that they will continue to soften a bit when the topping soaks in. Then spoon the tomato mixture evenly over each frisella. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and some ripped fresh herbs.

We had a grilled pork tenderloin too. Marinated in Dijon Mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pappardelle with Zucchini, Pancetta in Vodka Sauce

This morning, as in before work, I decided to make homemade pasta. I went with the Pappardelle noodles. What a perfect way to start the day. I used the Tide and Thyme recipe for the pasta. Perfect pasta every thyme!

And as far as making this dinner we are not talking brain surgery here. This is so simple to put together, as long as you have all the ingredients. I had the vodka sauce in the freezer. I sauteed some diced pancetta and then added the sliced zucchini. When the zucchini was almost done, I added the vodka sauce and heated it through. The cooked pasta was added to the pan. Yum! The sauce was delicious and the Pappardelle noodles were the perfect match for the sauce.