Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

Fresh Tomatoes

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005
Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

August and September are the best time for tomatoes. I must admit that during the rest of the year I typically use canned tomatoes. But this time of year, the tomatoes are fresh, and bursting with flavor. You are probably already adding these beauties to your salads, and serving them with fresh mozzarella and basil, but I though I would share three other ways I use tomatoes this time of year.

The Five Minute Pizza
Yield: 2 servings
2 Flour tortillas, 8″ in diameter
10 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
8 thin slices of fresh mozzarella
5 basil leaves
olive oil
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 400° . Lay tortillas on a cookie sheet and cover with a thin coat of olive oil. Place cheese and tomatoes (open side up) on tortilla and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 5 minutes until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and add basil – I prefer to freshly rip the basil into thin strips before adding to the pizza. Add more salt or perhaps red pepper flakes if desired. Cut each pizza in four and serve.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Yield: 2 servings
24 cherry tomatoes, whole
5 basil leaves, ripped into strips
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 400° . Put tomatoes on a cookies sheet, and season with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until they are just starting to break apart. Add to a bowl and add basil and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with a high quality olive oil. Serve.

Corn and Tomato Salad
Yield: 2 servings
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 ears of fresh corn
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°. Boil a large pot of water. Roast tomatoes for about 5 minutes till warm. Note that we are not fully cooking tomatoes to maintain their freshness. While the tomatoes are roasting, boil the corn for 3 – 5 minutes. Since the corn is so fresh it takes very little cooking time. When corn is done, remove the kernels from the ears and add to a bowl. Add the tomatoes to the same dish then season with salt and pepper and lightly toss. Drizzle with a high quality extra virgin olive oil and serve.

Time to Grill

Saturday, June 25th, 2005

Summer is my favorite season because you can enjoy the entire day outdoors. And what better way to enjoy a beautiful evening than to start up the grill and eat under the stars. Although everyone has their own grilling favorites, I though I would share a couple dishes I enjoy hopefully stimulating new menu ideas. I have also included recipes for a couple common side dishes, but with some unique twists.

Spicy Hanger Steak
Hanger Steak (from a good butcher)
1 tbs. adobe seasoning
1 tsp. ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne chili powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
2 limes, juiced
1 tsp. honey
1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil

Rub the steak with the top 4 powders and place in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and marinade for 4 – 24 hours. An hour before grilling, remove the meat from the marinade, scrape off the excess cilantro, season with salt, and let rest till it reaches room temperature. Grill over high heat for 3 minutes (for rare) per side. Actually the meat is a little undercooked when it is removed from the grill, but let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Stuffed Turkey Breast
Grilled chicken is a crowd favorite, so why not try something new and stuff a chicken or turkey breast. The presentation is beautiful and the stuffing adds some interesting new flavors. I prefer turkey because it is larger, making it easier to roll.

Stuffed Turkey Breast

Stuffed Turkey Breast

1 small turkey breast (5 lbs.), deboned and butterflied
1 box frozen spinach
1/2 small onion, chopped
7 tbs. olive oil
60 pine nuts
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
10 sage leaves
salt and pepper

Debone and butterfly a small turkey breast keeping the skin intact, or ask you butcher to do this for you. To make the stuffing, add 3 tbs. olive oil to a frying pan, once heated add the onions and cook over medium heat till translucent. Squeeze all the liquid out of the defrosted spinach, chop coarsely then add to the frying pan with another 2 tbs. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. While the spinach warms, toast the pine nuts in a separate pan till light brown, approximately 10 minutes. Add both crumbs to the spinach with an additional 2 tbs. of olive oil to keep the mixture moist. Season again with salt and pepper. Remove the frying pan from the heat. Chop 5 sage leaves and add to the spinach mixture with the grated parmigiano and the pine nuts. Add the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate till it has cooled. Lay the butterflied turkey breast on a cutting board skin side down, spread the stuffing mixture evenly over the turkey, then roll the turkey and tie with butchers twine. Season the rolled turkey breast with olive oil, sage, salt, and pepper. To grill the turkey, initially place it directly over the heat on your grill, and roll the breast so that you brown the outside, being careful not to burn the skin. Once brown, move the turkey off the direct heat, cover the grill, and roast for about 45 minutes or until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 160° F. Remove from the grill, cover lightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.


Potato Salad
3 lbs. round yukon gold potatoes (size of golf ball)
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/8 cup fresh chives, chopped
1 tbs. dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Place potatoes (unpeeled) in a large pot of cold water, then boil for about 15 minutes till cooked. Drain in colander, and let cool for about 10 minutes. Cut potatoes in half and place into a bowl. Toss in scallions, chives, and parsley. Mix vinaigrette using oil, vinegar, mustard, and ample amounts of salt and pepper. Pour dressing over potatoes and gently mix. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm, or chill and serve cold.

Cole Slaw
1/2 head green cabbage, cut into thin strips
1/2 head red cabbage, cut into thin strips
2 carrots, peeled into strips
7 tbs. apple cider vinegar
5 tbs. grape seed oil
1 tbs. dijon mustard
1 pinch dried dill
salt and pepper to taste

Shred red and green cabbage into thin strips and add to a bowl. Using a potato peeler, add long strips of carrot to the bowl. Make the dressing using the vinegar, oil, mustard, and dill, then taste to assure the acidity level is to your liking. Add liberal amounts of salt and pepper to the vinaigrette and then add to the cabbage. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld together.


Saturday, May 28th, 2005

Fresh asparagus is so delicious this time of year, and it is really easy to prepare. I prefer medium size asparagus. I feel the really thin ones are very easy to overcook, and the very thick spears can taste woody. If you hold your asparagus near the bottom of the stem and snap it like you are breaking a pencil, you will end up with the best part of the stem. Now cut the spear into 1 1/2 – 2 inch segments. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the asparagus with with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes and serve.

It’s BBQ Season

Sunday, March 20th, 2005

Spring is around the corner, and this past weekend I barbecued for the first time. The grill adds such flavor to a dish that I use it as often as possible. As with any dining experience, you need to mix it up so it does not become routine. I wanted to share two dishes that I cook that will hopefully stimulate you to try something different. The first is a chicken dish which is smoked to add a whole new flavor. The second is a pork dish in which the loin is stuffed.

Smoked Chicken

Chicken is a very common dish cooked on the grill, however I find that very few people smoke it, which is my favorite way. Adding wood chips of hickory or mesquite over your coals will add a great smokey flavor to your meat. First marinate your chicken (breasts, thighs, wings etc) for at least a few hours. You can use your favorite barbeque sauce, but I prefer olive oil, fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme or sage), salt and pepper. I then put coals on only one side of my grill. I sear the chicken directly over the hot coals (without the cover on) for about 10 minutes, at which time the chicken has nice grill marks. I then move the chicken to the other side of the grill, off the direct heat. An hour before grilling I soaked wood chips in a bowl of water. I now add these wood chips directly over my coals, and cover the grill. After 10 minutes I add some more wood chips, and turn over my chicken. Remove the chicken to a platter when cooked through, and let rest for 5 minutes. The skin will be a rich mahogany color, and the chicken will have a delicious smokey flavor.

Stuffed Pork Loin

Butterfly a pork loin so that it is flat, like a thin london broil. Note that your butcher can do this for you. For the stuffing, saute spinach (1 box of frozen spinach works well), 1/2 onion chopped, and 1 clove of garlic minced in olive oil over medium heat. When onion is translucent, add to a mixing bowl to cool. Mix in 25 toasted pine nuts, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, 5 sage leaves chopped, salt and pepper to taste. Spread mixture over pork loin, about 1/4 inch thick. Roll pork back to its original shape, and tie with string. Grill over high heat to brown the roast and seal in the juices, then complete the roasting process over low heat. Remove roast while still slightly pink in the center and let rest 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Peppers – Add a Little Zip to Your Meal

Wednesday, October 20th, 2004
Hot Peppers

Hot Peppers

The reds, oranges, yellows, browns, and greens are so vibrant this time of year. These were the colors of the peppers on display at my local farmer’s market. The bell pepper, pablano, Thai chili, scotch bonnet, and habanero are just a few of the varieties available (listed in order of increasing zip). There is an exciting world of pepper possibilities that reaches far beyond that green bell pepper we all grew up with. Why not add yellow and red bell peppers to a salad or an omelet? Pablano peppers would be a great addition to a chicken stir-fry. How about using Thai chili peppers with sautéed shrimp? And for the truly adventuresome, make a jerk chicken, which incorporates scotch bonnet peppers. Peppers are fun, colorful and tasty – try something new.