Monday, July 31, 2006

Mom's Fridge Pickles

from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster

makes about 1 quart

1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dill seed
4 to 5 small kirby (pickling) cucumbers, peeled in stripes and sliced into 1/8 inch thick rounds
1 small white onion, thinly sliced into rounds

1. Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper, cloves, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and dill seed in a quart jar. Place the lid on the jar and shake until the sugar has dissolved.

2. Layer the cucumbers and onion in the jar using a wooden spoon to press them tightly into the jar. Place the lid on the jar, shake it well, and refrigerate at least 4 hours, shaking the jar occasionally to keep the ingredients mixed. These pickles will keep in the refrigerator for at least 1 month.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Panini with Prosciutto, Roasted Pepper and Mozzarella

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
Serving Size : 4

1/3 pound thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma
8 thin slices chewy -- crusty Italian bread from a large loaf
1 jar roasted red peppers -- (16-ounce) drained well
1 pound fresh mozzarella -- sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil -- for drizzling

Preheat a grill pan or large nonstick griddle over medium to medium high heat. Build your sandwiches: place 2 or 3 slices of prosciutto on 1 piece of bread. Top with an even layer of roasted pepper and an even layer of sliced mozzarella, top with another slice of bread. Drizzle the tops of your assembled sandwiches with extra-virgin olive oil. Place the olive oil coated bread face down on the grill or griddle and drizzle the opposite side with additional extra-virgin olive oil. Weight the sandwiches down with a tin foil covered brick or a heavy skillet filled with a sack of flour or heavy canned goods. Press the sandwiches 2 or 3 minutes on each side, then serve immediately.

Potato, Tomato, and Spinach Soup

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
Serving Size : 4

3 cloves crushed or finely chopped garlic
1 large onion -- chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 quarts chicken broth
3 pounds all purpose potatoes -- peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound fresh triple washed spinach -- stems picked and coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg -- grated or ground
Salt and pepper
1 can chunky-style crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes in puree -- (28-ounce)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano

In a deep pot, saute garlic and onion in oil for 2 or 3 minutes. Add broth and bring liquid to a boil. As you slice potatoes, add them carefully to the broth. Cook potatoes 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The potatoes will begin to break up and thicken broth as the soup cooks. Stir in spinach in bunches as it wilts into soup. Season soup with nutmeg, salt and pepper, to your taste. Stir in tomatoes and heat through, 1 or 2 minutes. Remove pot from the stove to a trivet. Stir grated cheese into your soup and serve.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

White Bean Salad with Zucchini and Parmesan

from Everyday Food magazine, July/August 2006.

2 cans (15.5 oz each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 pound zucchini (about 2 small), trimmed, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 ozs. green beans, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal (3/4 cup)
2 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper

In a medium bowl, place cannellini beans, zucchini, green beans, Parmesan, basil, lemon zest and juice, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Serves 4.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Classic Blueberry Muffins

from King Arthur Flour's Baker's Companion

8 Tbs butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups uinbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups fresh or dried blueberries
2 tsp sugar or cinnamon sugar for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375º. In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the baking powder, then add the flour alternating with the milk, beating well after each addition. Mash 1/2 cup of the blueberries and add them to the batter. Stir in the vanilla at the end, along with the whole blueberries.

Mound the batter into 12 lightly greased or paper-lined muffin cups, filling each completely to the top (actually, over the top; the batter is thick enough that it'll hold it's shape). Sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.

Bake the muffins for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven, and after 5 minutes remove them from the pan to cool completely on the rack, or gently flip them sideways in the pan. (Muffins left in the pan will steam, creating a tough crust.)

Makes 12 muffins.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Chile Spiced Popcorn Mix

Chile Spiced Popcorn Mix

1/2 Cup popcorn kernels, popped in a hot air popper
1 stick of butter, melted
1 tsp. freshly ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. Ancho Chile Powder
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1/8 tsp. Spanish Smoked Paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Cup pine nuts (or pignoli) lightly toasted
1/2 Cup dried blueberries
1/2 Cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350º. Place the popped popcorn in a large mixing bowl. Add the ground coriander, cumin, Ancho chile powder, paprika, smoked paprika, sea salt, and black pepper to the melted butter. Whisk well to incorporate. Pour the melted butter over the poprocn, and stir well with a wooden spoon. Pour the popcorn onto an ungreased baking sheet (I used a half-sheet pan). Place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes. Allow to cool, and pour into a large bowl. Add the toasted pine nuts, blueberries, and cranberries. Toss well. Enjoy!