Summer Vegetable Galette

Summer Vegetable Galette

This wonderful recipe comes from a blog “The view from Great Island”. This is a great way to use up extra zucchini and squash. I want to make a roasted tomato version as well! Make sure your veggies are thinly sliced. A mandoline slicer is very helpful. I served this with a tomato salad.

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Ingredients

crust
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut in small pieces
  • 5 Tbsp cold water
filling
  • approximately 3 ounces spreadable goat cheese
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 1 small new potato
  • thin slices of red onion about 1/2 a small red onion
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top

Instructions

  1. Put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the chunks of cold butter and pulse about 25 times, or until combined and crumbly. Drizzle in the water while pulsing, and run the machine briefly until the dough comes together in a lump, this should not take more than 15-30 seconds.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and bring together into a flat round disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 400F
  4. Slice the squash and potato on a mandoline slicer at set at 1/8 inch thickness. If you are using a knife, slice them as thin as you can so they are flexible and translucent.
  5. Roll the dough out on a sheet of parchment paper that is cut to fit a baking sheet. Roll it to about a 12 inch circle, more or less.
  6. Spread the soft goat cheese over the surface of your dough, leaving a border of dough free so you can roll it later.
  7. Arrange your sliced veggies over the cheese, overlapping them. You will probably not need all of them, I made a fairly thin layer. Separate the rings of the onion slices and feather them over the top. Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top.
  8. Roll up the edges of the dough to meet the filling. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Note: keep your dough chilled at all times before baking. If you need to you can put the whole tray in the refrigerator while your oven heats up.
  9. Bake for about 33-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. I like to take the parchment paper and set it right on the rack of my oven for a great crisp crust. If you have a pizza stone you can use that.
  10. Slice and serve the tart hot or at room temperature.
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Risotto with Fresh Corn and Basil Oil

Risotto with Fresh Corn and Basil Oil

This has all the wonderful tastes of summer in one dish. Super easy and a nice meal with a side salad of tomatoes and a glass of white wine

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kernels from  ears of corn
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh chives

Directions

In a blender, combine the chopped basil and olive oil and process until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the broth to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and maintain a simmer.

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, stir to coat, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium, add the rice and stir until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the simmering broth a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the broth is almost completely absorbed (but the rice is never dry on top) before adding the next ladleful. After 10 minutes, stir in the corn. After about 20 minutes, the rice should be tender to the bite and creamy. If you need more liquid, use more broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chives and 2 Tbs. of the basil oil. Divide among bowls, drizzle with more basil oil, garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Baked Greek Chicken

Baked Greek Chicken

This is lemony, tangy goodness. An easy weeknight dinner. Serve over rice with some homemade pita bread.

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Ingredients

  • chicken, boneless thighs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice and zest
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • smoked paprika
  • Williams-Sonoma lemon garlic seasoning

Instructions

In a bowl whisk together the plain Greek yogurt along with the olive oil, garlic, zest and juice from a lemon, the red pepper flakes, chopped fresh oregano, parsley and kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and marinate for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Use cooking spray or olive oil and coat the inside of a baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika, lemon-garlic seasoning and feta cheese.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes-1 hour or until golden brown and chicken has 165°F internal temperature

Cucumber and Avocado Bisque

Cucumber and Avocado Bisque

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This is the perfect creamy, cold soup to serve on a hot day. Super simple to make with just a few ingredients. My husband hates cucumbers and he loved this. I topped with blue cheese and a drizzle of lemon balsamic vinegar. This came from a cookbook I just finished, “Big East Forkful” with recipes from Jim Leeson’s kitchen. This recipe may have originally come from Maude’s Courtyard – a favorite Nashville restaurant when I first arrived here in 1981. The original recipe calls for European seedless cucumbers but I used seedless Persian cucumbers and it tasted perfect.  I tweaked the recipe to my own tastes- added more avocado and I did not salt and leave the cucumbers sit.. The KEY is seedless cucumbers. I have included the original recipe card. This is a great cookbook filled with simple, country recipes.

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Ingredients

1 Medium seedless European (or Persian) cucumber, chopped
1 Medium ripe avocado, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 Cup Chicken stock
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Cup sour cream (or greek yogurt)
1/2 tsp Salt

Blend all ingredients and chill. Serve garnished with blue cheese and drizzle with lemon balsamic vinegar.

Pita Bread

Pita Bread

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I know what you are saying… why would I make it when I can just buy a bag in the store? But then you would never know the delicious, habit forming, and really pretty easy, joy of making it and eating it fresh and warm from the oven. These are warm, doughy bits of deliciousness. Please try!!! From the New York Times recipe. My brother and sister-in-law introduced me to this recipe and it is very easy. I have used a pizza stone and a cookie sheet and the pizza stone does work best.

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INGREDIENTS

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purposed flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

PREPARATION

Step 1
Make sponge: Put 1 cup lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl.
Add yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add the whole-wheat flour and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and whisk together. Put bowl in a warm (not hot) place, uncovered, until mixture is frothy and bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Step 2
Add salt, olive oil and nearly all remaining all-purpose flour (reserve 1/2 cup) ]. With a wooden spoon or a pair of chopsticks, stir until mixture forms a shaggy mass. Dust with a little reserved flour, then knead in bowl for 1 minute, incorporating any stray bits of dry dough.

Step 3
Turn dough onto work surface. Knead lightly for 2 minutes, until smooth. Cover and let rest 10 minutes, then knead again for 2 minutes. Try not to add too much reserved flour; the dough should be soft and a bit moist. (At this point, dough may refrigerated in a large zippered plastic bag for several hours or overnight. Bring dough back to room temperature, knead into a ball and proceed with recipe.)

Step 4
Clean the mixing bowl and put dough back in it. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then cover with a towel. Put bowl in a warm (not hot) place. Leave until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Step 5
Heat oven to 475 degrees. On bottom shelf of oven, place a heavy-duty baking sheet, large cast-iron pan or ceramic baking  tile. Punch down dough and divide into 8 pieces of equal size. Form each piece into a little ball. Place dough balls on work surface, cover with a damp towel and leave for 10 minutes.

Step 6
Remove 1 ball (keeping others covered) and press into a flat disc with rolling pin. Roll to a 6-inch circle, then to an 8-inch diameter, about 1/8 inch thick, dusting with flour if necessary. (The dough will shrink a bit while baking.)

Step 7
Carefully lift the dough circle and place quickly on hot baking sheet. After 2 minutes the dough should be nicely puffed. Turn over with tongs or spatula and bake 1 minute more. The pita should be pale, with only a few brown speckles. Transfer warm pita to a napkin-lined basket and cover so bread stays soft. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.

8 six-inch diameter breads

Triple Lemon Cake

Triple Lemon Cake

Here is the little bit of art I never get around to posting. I created this poster and invitation for a wedding party for two friends of mine who got married in Italy. This party was for friends and family that could not attend the Italian wedding.

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I love lemons. This has homemade lemon curd, fresh lemon juice in the cake and lemon buttercream icing. I am not especially crazy about cake, but this is a  lemony moist cake that even I loved. I hosted a wedding party for dear friends and decided to see if I could make a tiered wedding cake. This was easy enough for even someone like me who had never done it before. I just doubled the recipe to make the extra layers. The key to this is to freeze the cake until you need it which freed up time I needed to do all the cooking for the party. I found this recipe on the blog “Life, Love and Sugar”. Using a product called “cake release” which I found at Michael’s worked great on the cake pans. I did manage to take a couple of photos… Double the lemon curd so you have enough to use on something else.

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Ingredients

Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sour cream
Lemon Curd
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks

3 tbsp butter (I used unsalted)

 

Lemon Buttercream
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups shortening
12 cups (3 lbs) powdered sugar
3 tsp finely grated lemon zest
6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp water – plus more to the consistency you want

Directions

Cake
1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
2.Add eggs, oil and lemon juice. Beat until smooth.
3. Add sour cream and beat until smooth.
4. Bake at 350 degrees in two 8-inch pans for about 25 minutes or until done.
Lemon Curd
1. Combine all ingredients in a double boiler (or in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water, like I did).
2. Heat while stirring constantly with a whisk.
3. It is done when it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. You will be able to tell it has thickened, but I wouldn’t say that it’s “thick.”
4. Refrigerate until cool and thick.
Lemon Buttercream
1. Beat butter and shortening together until smooth.
2. Add 6 cups of powdered sugar, one at a time, beating to combine.
3. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and combine.
4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat to combine.
5. Add water to get the consistency you want, starting with 1/2 tsp, beat to combine.
To assemble the cake:
1. Divide the cake into four layers by slicing each cake in half.
2. Fill two layers with lemon buttercream and the other two with lemon curd.
3. Frost the outside of the cake.

Freezing a cake

  1. Bake the cake and cool each layer on a wire cake rack.
  2. Wrap each layer in plastic wrap. I usually wrap it with two pieces to make sure it is covered well.
  3. Wrap each layer with aluminum foil.
  4. Take the frozen cakes out of the freezer and let them thaw a little while still wrapped.
  5. Unwrap the layers and level them. Leveling means you cut off the dome with a serrated knife to make the cake even for decorating.
  6. Don’t level when the cake is completely frozen or it might cause it to crack or pieces may break off.
  7. Then, fill the layers of the cake with frosting and fillings and stack the cake making sure each layer is level.
  8. Next, dirty icing or crumb coating and place it back in the freezer for about 20 minutes before adding the decorative layer of frosting. This will help the dirty iced layer set up so you can add the decorative layer of frosting without pulling crumbs into the top layer of frosting.

 

Greek Grilled Shrimp Orzo

Greek Grilled Shrimp Orzo

This is a wonderful dish to serve at a summer party. I am hosting a wedding party for friends in 2 weeks and plan on serving this as party of the menu. It is easy to double (or more) for a big party. I served this warm but it was really good as a cold salad the next day. It would also be a good vegetarian side dish just omit the shrimp. This recipe was inspired by prouditaliancook.com.

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INGREDIENTS

Grilled shrimp
Smoked Paprika
Olive oil
Cooked orzo pasta
English cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 medium sweet onion, diced
Red onion, diced
Crumbled feta
Grape tomatoes, halved and roasted
Kalamata olives
Lemon zest
Mint, parsley, oregano

Marinate the shrimp in lemon peel, lemon juice, olive oil, crushed garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and grill.

Heat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with foil. Place halved grape tomatoes on the sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Roast for about 20 minutes.

Heat about 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pan. Add onion and cook over medium heat until soft and getting golden, add red onion and cook until just warmed and a bit soft. Add the roasted tomatoes using all the juices left after roasting.

Make a vinaigrette by whisking 3 parts good olive oil to 1 part fresh squeezed lemon juice, add 1 crushed garlic clove, salt and pepper.

Taste it to your liking, either adding more or less. Place all ingredients in a bowl, adding all the herbs, more feta, (make sure it’s in small crumbles) pour the vinaigrette over all the ingredients, taste it and make sure you have enough of everything!

Note: I used 8 oz of cooked orzo and about 20 medium shrimp, the rest of the ingredients I just judged until I thought I had enough.