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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Garden Gazpacho

This is a Pioneer Woman recipe that I've tweaked a little.  It's a great recipe for using up all those summer veggies that you wind up with in July and August or when you go to the Farmer's Market and buy one of everything!  It''s flavorful and refreshing during the dog days of summer - you'll see.

WIBW Weatherman, Doug Meyers, enjoying veggies for breakfast - GAZPACHO
1 lb. raw peeled shrimp, seasoned with creole seasoning, grilled or sauteed till opaque
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 large cucumber, diced
1 zucchini, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
5-6 roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (sometimes I just totally leave this out of the recipe - this saves over 400 calories!) 
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
several dashes of hot sauce (or add 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, instead)
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
4 cups good-quality tomato juice
2 nicely-ripened avocados, sliced thinly
2 hard-boiled eggs, finely minced
cilantro leaves
The garnishes really make the difference - chopped hard boiled egg, avocado and cooked shrimp.
Place all of garlic and onion into bowl of food processor; add half of diced veggies and olive oil.  Add vinegar, sugar, hot sauce, salt and pepper, and 2 cups tomato juice to food processor bowl.  Process well.  Place the other half of the diced veggies to a large bowl, adding processed mixture as well.  Stir to combine, then add remaining 2 cups of tomato juice.  Ladle soup into chilled bowls or mugs and garnish with grilled shrimp, avocado, eggs and cilantro leaves.  Serve at once.

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Friday, June 21, 2013

Curried Couscous Salad

Delicious as it pretty, this salad is great as a side dish OR as an entrĂ©e – I love to add grilled chicken in the summer time.  This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe and it may seem like a lot of ingredients, but it goes together very quickly. 

1 ½ cups couscous
1 ½ cups boiling vegetable broth
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 – 1 ½ tsp. curry powder and ¼ tsp. turmeric
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup small-dice celery
½ cup minced flat-leaf Italian parsley
1/3 cup dried cranberries, 1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
3 scallions, thinly sliced, use both green and white parts
½ small red onion, small-dice

Place couscous into a medium-size mixing bowl.  Bring broth to a boil; pour over couscous in bowl and stir to combine.  Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap or foil and allow couscous to set for 5 minutes; fluff couscous with a fork.  Meanwhile, whisk together yogurt, evoo, vinegar, and spices; season to taste with salt and pepper.  Pour prepared dressing over couscous and mix gently; toss in celery, parsley, cranberries, goldens, almonds, scallions and red onion and mix well.  Taste to see if seasonings need adjusted.  Salad is best served at room temperature.  

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Gordon Lee's Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

This bread pudding is NOTHING without the vanilla sauce - Don't even THINK of making it unless you're going to top it with the sauce! 

Bread Pudding
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 lb. cinnamon raisin bread, cut into 1 inch pieces

Vanilla Sauce
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 11-12 inch baking dish and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs; add milk, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Stir in bread cubes and let mixture stand for 10-15 minutes, until bread cubes absorb most of liquid. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Bake on center rack of oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until pudding is almost set at center and top is golden brown. (I usually stick a knife into the center to check for doneness – it should be slightly sticky on your knife when tested at the center.)

While bread pudding is baking, place sugar, salt and heavy cream into a LARGE sauce pan (you'll hate it if this bubbles over and it easily can!) over medium high heat; bring to a full boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture has thickened about 30-40 minutes; remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour prepared sauce over warm bread pudding and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving. 

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer Fruit Bruschetta

24 baguette slices
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
6 Tbs. dark brown sugar, divided use
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Sprinkle of nutmeg
½ cup chopped peaches
¼ cup chopped plums
1/8 cup blueberries
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 Tbs. chopped toasted walnuts

Lay baguette slices in a single layer on a large baking sheet.  Brush lightly with a bit of oil; broil for 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted, then turn over. Combine the butter, 4 Tbs. brown sugar and spices and spread this mixture over the top of the baguette slices.  Broil for 1-2 minutes, until bubbly and bread is lightly browned on edges, taking care not to burn.  Combine fruits with remaining 2 Tbs. of brown sugar and lime juice; spoon equally over toasted baguette slices.  Top with walnuts and serve at once. 

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream: Just 5 minutes and 3 Ingredients to Delicious!

A quick and easy way to make delicious ice cream in a flash - I try to keep these ingredients on hand at all times during the summer months as a quick dessert for guests who drop by or when my boys want a sweet treat to cool off.  Any frozen fruit can be used in place of the strawberries – feel free to experiment!

10 oz. pkg. frozen sliced strawberries
½ cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream

Combine the frozen strawberries and sugar in a food processor; process until the strawberries are roughly chopped.  With the processor running, slowly pour in the heavy cream until fully incorporated.  Serve immediately, or freeze for up to one week.  

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Layered Mexican Chicken Salad

From Weber's Way to Grill Cookbook, adjusted by Chef Alli

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, approx. 4 oz. each

1 large poblano chile pepper, chopped (after roasting until blistered, blistered skin removed)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 large clove garlic
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
1 1/2 cups crushed blue or yellow corn tortilla chips
1 cup diced ripe roma tomatoes
2 avocados, diced
15 oz. can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed well

In a medium bowl, whisk marinade ingredients together; add chicken thighs, turning several times to coat evenly.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes - 1 hour.  While chicken is marinating, prepare dressing:  place all ingredients into bowl of food processor and process until smooth. 

Once chicken is marinated, cook over medium direct heat until cooked throughout, approx. 8-10 minutes, turning once or twice, or until juices run clear.  Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into thin strips.  Place all ingredients into separate piles on large serving platter; dress with prepared dressing and toss to combine.  

Now You're Cookin,
Chef Alli