Chilled Berry Soup

Chilled Berry Soup

This is just so refreshing on a hot summer day. Great as a first course with grilled meat. I have made this over the years and it never turns out quite the same, but it is always good.. I used a mix of frozen strawberries, blackberries, Blueberries and raspberries for this version but fresh is great if you have ripe fruit. Adapted from an Old James McNair cookbook. I love his cookbooks.

Ingredients

6 cups stemmed ripe berries such as strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries (one kind or assortment), or frozen mixed berries
1 cup orange juice or apple juice
½ cup sugar, or to taste
2 cups Asti Spumante, Champagne, or other sparkling wine

Directions

  • Working in batches, if necessary, combine the berries and juices in a food processor or blender and puree until fairly smooth.
  • Transfer to a glass ceramic bowl and stir in the sugar and sparkling wine. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.
  • Ladle into chilled bowls



Serves 6 as a soup course or dessert.

Spring Fritatta

Spring Fritatta

This is perfect for a spring brunch! You can make any vegetable variation. I used an 11 inch skillet.

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs, use 8 eggs for a 12-inch skillet
  • ¼ cup milk (or soy, rice, almond)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt, more for sprinkling
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli or broccolini
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 C cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 400.

Whisk eggs, milk and salt, set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 10 or 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat.

Add the broccoli, and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is tender but still bright green, 5 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the mushrooms and cook until tender.

Add the egg mixture and gently shake the pan to distribute. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until the eggs are set. Season to taste and serve.

Asparagus and Mushroom Pappardelle

Asparagus and Mushroom Pappardelle

Spring makes me think of fresh asparagus. I love it. Also my mom suffers from reflux so I am always on the lookout for pasta that does NOT contain tomatoes. I made the pasta for this but store bought is fine. You could also substitute zucchini or spinach in this recipe. This recipe was adapted from Delish.com. I served this with home made Rosemary Brioche Rolls. This makes about 5-6 servings.

INGREDIENTS

kosher salt

1 lb. pappardelle

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb. baby bella mushrooms or white, sliced into 1/4″ pieces

Freshly ground black pepper

1 c. vegetable stock

1 lb. asparagus, chopped into 1″ pieces

2 tbsp. butter

1 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

1 c. freshly grated fontina cheese

1/2 c. fresh herbs

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring an 8-quart stock pot of water to a boil and generously season with salt. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water, and return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add mushrooms and spread in an even layer; cook for 3 minutes before stirring to let the mushrooms brown. Add garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook 2 minutes more. Add stock and asparagus, then using a wooden spoon, scrape bottom of pan to remove the browned garlic and mushrooms. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add butter, pasta, and both cheeses, then gently mix with tongs. (If the pasta seems dry, slowly add reserved pasta water until desired consistency is reached.)
  3. Serve in skillet or transfer pasta to a platter and top with grated Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and parsley. Serve immediately.
Butternut Squash “Hash”

Butternut Squash “Hash”

I don’t often buy precut vegetables but when I saw Trader Joe’s Vegetable Hash in the stores around Christmas I had to try it. I figured it would be great as a quick side dish on a busy work day. And I was right. Problem was it turned out to be a seasonal item. Seasonal??? I HATE when they do that, but I liked it so much I created my own. It was a just a bit of extra work to chop everything but I will make this again. Served with grilled port tenderloin. The Trader Joe’s version had red onion which I did not have on hand so just used a large sweet onion. I added some extras and made it my own. You could add, or substitute, sweet potato. Pine nuts would be good or dried cherries.

Ingredients
1 medium sized butternut squash, cut into bite size cubes
1 large onion, Chopped (use sweet or red)
2 Ribs of celery
Tablespoon of dried oregano
Tablespoon of Sage (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Olive oil
tsp Trader Joe’s Umami spice mix
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions
Heat olive oil in a large pan, add onion and sauté over medium heat until getting nice and caramelized Add butternut squash cubes and sauté until getting tender, add celery and cook until tender. Add herbs and seasoning. Add the breadcrumbs and cheese until the breadcrumbs start to get brown and slightly crunchy.


Crunchy Orange Tofu

Crunchy Orange Tofu

This came together quickly on a late Friday night. We are not vegetarians but this did not make me miss the meat at all and was totally satisfying. I will add to my regular rotation of fast meals. Adapted from the blog The View From the Great Island.

For the baked tofu
(2 packages) extra firm tofu (I used Trader Joe’s Pressed)
6 Tbsp cornstarch
1 pinch salt
2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbs oil for frying
1 onion sliced thin
1 Zucchini, cut in half and then sliced
1 small package white or Baby Bella mushrooms, chopped

For the sauce
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar or Mirin
1 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 cup orange juice (about 3-4 medium oranges)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
1 Tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in 2 Tbsp water

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Drain the tofu and pat it try with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels, gently squeezing some of the excess moisture out.

Slice the tofu into bite sized cubes, and gently toss together with the cornstarch, salt, and oil.

Spread the tofu cubes out into a single layer on your prepared baking sheet, and bake for about 45 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking.

While the tofu is baking, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients, except the cornstarch mixture. Set aside.

About 10 minutes before the tofu is ready: In a large pan or wok heat 2 Tbsp of oil and add the onion, stir until tender and starting to caramelize. Add the zucchini and mushrooms. Cook until tender.

Remove the tofu from the oven when it is done cooking, it should be lightly golden brown and crispy on the outside, and set aside.

Add the sauce ingredients, along with the cornstarch mixture, in a small pan, mixing to combine. Heat over medium heat until the sauce is just starting to simmer and thickens.

Add the tofu to the onion mixture. Add sauce and gently toss until coated.

Serve along with white rice, and top with sesame seeds, if desired.

Broccoli and Potato Soup

Broccoli and Potato Soup

When it is cold, grey and you just want to curl up with a bowl of comforting soup this is a healthy one do make. Very easy and great for a work night. This is from a wonderful Williams-Sonoma book, Soup of the Day, 365 days of Soup. I added blue cheese to the top but you can eliminate or add cheddar. Serve with a crisp salad or warm bread.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots (or 1 onion)
1 lb Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 lb Broccoli, cored and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 lb Blue cheese crumbled

Directions

In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When it foams, add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until limp, about 1 minute. Stir in the potatoes and broccoli. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour and stir until the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute. Add about 1/2 cup of the broth, stirring to make a paste, then gradually add the remaining broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes and broccoli are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Using a blender or hand held blender (which I used), mix until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, place over medium high heat, and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle in half of the cheese and stir until melted, about 1 minute. Serve with the remaining cheese on top. I just used some crumbled cheese to sprinkle on top.

Butternut Squash, Pine nut and Sage Risotto

Butternut Squash, Pine nut and Sage Risotto

This was adapted from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook. Autumn makes me want to start cooking with all the wonderful squash that starts appearing on the shelves. I roasted the squash which I thought brought out the flavor. It also called for Hazelnuts but I though pine nuts worked perfectly (and what I had in the pantry). This could be a vegetarian main dish with a salad but pairs perfectly with a grilled pork tenderloin or Chicken.


Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus more as needed
  • 5 tsp. chopped fresh sage or 1 Tbs dried sage
  • 4 Tbs toasted pine nuts (or hazelnuts)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Put butternut squash in a bowl, toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast squash for about 30 minutes, or until fork tender and getting caramelized.

In a medium, heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion, stirring frequently, until it is soft and light brown, about 10 minutes.

In a medium, heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion, stirring frequently, until it is soft and light brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and stir until a white spot appears in the center of the grains, about 1 minute. Add the wine and stir until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of the broth, adjust the heat to simmer, if needed, so that the liquid bubbles and is absorbed slowly. Stir until the liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking, adding the liquid 3/4 cup at a time and stirring almost constantly, until the rice starts to soften, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking, adding the liquid 1/2 cup at a time and stirring almost constantly, until the rice is just tender but slightly firm in the center and the mixture is creamy, about 10 minutes more.

Add the roasted squash, Parmesan cheese, 3 Tbs. of the nuts, the pepper and salt. Stir to mix well.

To serve, spoon the risotto into a serving bowl or onto plates. Garnish with the remaining 1 Tbs. fresh sage, if using, and the remaining 1 Tbs. nuts.

Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie

There are a million different recipes for this I am sure and this is a tasty way to use up your tomatoes from the garden or the farm stand. I used yellow tomatoes but you could use any good, ripe tomato. The key is to really let the tomato slices drain on paper towels, 1-2 hours. You can use Mayo instead of ricotta, also. Thank you to Dawn Bryant Hughes for the recipe.

4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced, drained
3/4-1 Cup ricotta cheese
herbs (basil, parsley, chives), & minced garlic together
2-2.5 Cups cheese (anything you have – cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella, parmesan)
1 precooked pie crust (I made mine but you can use ready made).

• Pat dry tomatoes, spread out on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Roast at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.
• Pre cook pie crust according to recipe or directions.
• Starting with tomatoes, layer tomatoes and cheese mixture 2-3 times and top with a little more cheese. Sprinkle with Basil.
• Bake 350° for 30 min.

Roasted Broccoli Florets with Toasted Breadcrumb Gremolata

Roasted Broccoli Florets with Toasted Breadcrumb Gremolata

My husband loves the idea of vegetables. He loves to eat them when they are disguised.
I was not sure he would eat these but he cleaned the plate. The roasting brings out a sweet nuttiness and these make a wonderful side dish to anything! This was adapted from the New California Cookbook. Full disclosure: I actually used a brioche hot dog bun for the breadcrumbs and it was fabulous.

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Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (optional)
  • 1  broccoli crown, stems removed, tops cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot; sauté until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs; toast until golden, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Transfer mixture to small bowl. Mix in lemon peel. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss broccoli with remaining 3 tablespoons oil in large bowl to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread out onto large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until stems are crisp-tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle gremolata over and serve.

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Ricotta and Spinach “Meatballs”

Ricotta and Spinach “Meatballs”

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Vegetarian, light, fluffy little meatless “meatballs”. These are wonderful for a weeknight dinner if you use store bought pasta and sauce. Serve them with just the sauce or over pasta. I adapted this from http://www.notquitenigella.com

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Serves 8

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

1 package 15 oz part skim ricotta
4 eggs – if using Jumbo reduce to 3
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 package frozen spinach, thawed (or  kale)
3/4 cup plain all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

For sauce
1 jar of pasta sauce, or homemade red sauce

Preheat oven to 350F and take a large baking dish or a overproof skillet with high sides. Mix the sauce ingredients in the dish together and set aside.

 In a food processor mix the ricotta, eggs, onion, two cheeses and spinach and blend. Empty into a large bowl and then mix in the flour until just combined (do not overmix). Then using a small ice cream scoop, make balls and place them in the sauce. Bake for 35 minutes (longer if you use a regular sized ice cream scoop).

Garnish parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Serve as is with crusty bread or on top of pasta.