Thursday, August 24, 2006

Classic BLT with Summer Vegetable Salad

There is not much to say about the inovation. The salad was prepared from fresh vegetables we found at our local roadside stand. There are cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion a beets in it. I like fresh beets....they have a wonderful sweet earthy taste to them. There are also some rings of hot banana pepper in there. The salad was dressed with 4T grocery store balsamic vinegar and 4T olive oil; salt and pepper to taste.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Basil Tomato Tart - Adapted from Betty Crocker

This is one of our favorite late summer dinners when fresh basil and vine ripened tomatoes are plentiful (a small portion would be a nice starter for a dinner party). Well in advance (several hours), slice the tomatoes and drain them on paper towels. This is required so that the excess juice from the tomatoes doesn't make the crust soggy. You will need 3 medium tomatoes for a 9" pie crust. Prebake the crust to a light brown. Sprinkle 1/2C shredded mozzarella cheese into the crust after baking and set aside. In a processor, course chop 1C fresh basil leaves and 4 cloves of garlic. Combine 1/4C shredded mozzarella, 1/4C Parmesan cheese and 1/2C mayo in a bowl. Arrange the tomatoes in the crust, top with the basil mix and spread the cheese mixture over the top. Bake at 375 F for 35-40 min. We serve it with a green salad and a chilled white wine.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Beef Salad with Udon Noodles and Broccoli

This is another dinner using left-overs from Outback Steak-house. We sliced the beef thinly and marinaded it in a mixture of oriental sauces; 1/2C soy sauce, 3T oyster sauce, 1T red curry paste and 3 cloves minced garlic. Some roughly chopped green onions were added along with some dried shitake mushrooms. The noodles were prepared according to package directions. The broccoli was steamed and added to the noodles along with the beef mushrooms and marinade. The curry gave the dish a nice zip. We drank a Redwood Creek Pinot Noir.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Seafood Pasta with Olive oil and Garlic

This dinner was created from the left-over Ceviche but it would be almost as easy from scratch. We boiled the pasta according to label directions and dressed it with 1/3C olive oil. We sauted in olive oil 6 cloves for garlic, minced, until lightly brown. Then we added the scallops, sole and calamari and sauted VERY briefly, perhaps 30 sec. Mix the seafood/garlic with the pasta and serve topped with some freshly chopped basil. The citrus marinade used for the ceviche was wonderful with the garlic and oil. The spinach-arugula salad with tomatoes was dressed with a vinegrette and topped with crumbled blue cheese. We drank a Redwood Creek Frei Bros. Chardonnay.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Picnic at Blossom

One nice thing about living in Cleveland is The Blossom Music Center, summer home of The Cleveland Orchestra. People bring picnics and sit on the lawn. This was one of ours. We had crackers and pepper goat cheese with grapes for an appitizer. The fried chicken was store bought. The veggie dip was made from sour cream and fresh herbs; parsley, chives, basil, and thyme. Minced garlic, jalapeno and 2T fresh lime juice were also added. We had our usual dry white wine with it. Sorry about the focus.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ceviche with Green Salad and Tomatoes

Ceviche is a dish prepared by marinating fresh fish in citrus. The acid in the citrus "cooks" the fish by reacting with the protein and curing, or pickling it, really. The key is to use very fresh fish and to only use salt-water fish. Fresh water fish can be infected with parasites which would not be killed by the marinade. So....we used dover sole filets, scallops and rings of calamari. The marinade is 1C of fresh lime juice and 3/4C fresh lemon juice. Along with the fish, add 1/2 bunch chopped green onion, 2 diced jalapenos, seeded, 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro. Salsa can be added as well although we did not. Allow the fish to marinade for 4-6 hrs in the refrigerator. This was enough marinade for 1 pound of scallops, 1/2 pound of sole, and 1/2 pound of calamari. We served it on a bed of greens dressed with a lemon vinegrette, wedged tomatoes and a crusty bread although crackers are more traditional. Just before serving we added a generous grind of black pepper and salt to taste. A dry white wine goes well with the dish.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Spicey Italian Sausage Sandwiches with Potatoes and Sliced Tomatoes

In a sauce pan mix your favorite Italian cooking sauce with some sliced onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Simmer covered for 30 min, minimum. The sausages were grilled on the Weber for about 15 min with the lid on. Tabasco was used to adjust the heat. The tomatoes were sliced, shredded mozzarella, fresh basil and balsalmic vinager provided the topping. The potatoes were prepared according to package directions. As you can see, we drank beer with this dinner.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ravioli Lasagna - Adapted from Rachel Ray

Our daughter Karen prepared this dinner. She boiled some fresh cheese ravioli for about 5 minutes (we think the dish would be better if you used a more interesting ravioli filling, like crab or pumpkin or something). Then squeeze out 2 packages of frozen spinach, and sauted it in olive oil & garlic, and add 1 can of artichokes which have been quartered. After steaming some asparagus, add it to the spinach. Put that in a bowl. Make a roux then add some chicken stock, parmesan cheese & cream & let it simmer for 2 or three minutes. Finally, layer the spinach, artichokes, and ravioli on top of each other with a final layer of shredded cheese & put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes until the cheese was bubbly. We served it with slaw and a chilled white wine.


Marinated Steak with Grilled Peaches and Fennel - Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine

This recipe calls for skirt steak or flank steak, but we think they are over priced so we used top sirloin. Prepare the marinade by processing 2 cloves of garlic, a shallot, 1 jalopeno (seeded), 2T soy sauce and some fresh thyme. Slowly add 1/2C canola oil and continue processing until smooth. Use 1/2 of this mixture to marinade the steak for several hours. To the remaining mix, add 2T Dijon mustard and reserve for topping the finished steak. Meanwhile, add 2T honey to a pan with very hot water. Add 1t ground cinnamon, 1T fresh ginger, and 1/4C canola oil. Half and pit the peaches and marinate until ready to grill. The fennel was brushed with oil and salt and pepper to taste. The meat and the fennel went on the Weber at the same time for about 15 min for medium rare, about 7 1/2 min on a side. The peaches were grilled when the meat was turned. We served a Shiraz with it.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Grilled Chicken with Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

The chicken was marinated in a mixture of equal parts of soy sauce, lime juice and lemon juice. In this case 3/4C of each. Six cloves of minced garlic were added plus a good grind of black pepper. This was enough marinade for 12 pieces of chicken. A whole chicken could be done the same way by putting the chicken and the marinade in a baggie. The chicken was marinated for 8 hrs. The vegetables (summer squash, zuchini, red bell pepper) were grilled on the Weber until nicely browned. They were then tossed with the pasta and diced tomatoes and fresh basil. The dressing was a red wine vinegar vinegrette (3T red wine vinegar, 1/4C olive oil; salt and pepper to taste). We again has a chilled dry white wine with dinner. A nice summer patio meal.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Tuna Salad with Chickpeas

As we have said in the past, one of the things that seems most enjoyable about cooking is "tinkering" with recipes. This is another example. The original recipe called for olive oil and lemon juice; we substituted sour cream for the oil. Use 2 cans of tuna, 1 can of chickpeas, both well drained; freshly chopped oregano and chives, kalamata olives, onion, if you wish and diced celery; salt and pepper to taste. The dressing was made by mixing 1/2C sour cream with 4T fresh lemon juice. We served the salad with tomato wedges and Triskett crackers.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pork Salad with Mixed Greens

This is another of those dinners created from a leftover. The roast pork was thinly sliced and mixed with 1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and well drained, bell pepper, hot banana pepper, red onion and marinated mushrooms. It was spiced with some fresh oregano, ground cumin, salt and pepper and served on a bed of greens. It was dressed with a simple redwine vinegrette (1/4C olive oil, 3T redwine vinegar and 1t dijon mustard). Avacado and tomato were served as a garnish. It was a hot summer evening so a chilled white wine went nicely.

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Just because we liked it