Monday, July 18, 2011

Farmer's Market Dinner

What’s better then walking to the farmer’s market picking up an assortment of foods and going home to cook dinner for a friend? Today I did just that. After a trip to the gym I headed over to the Union Square Farmer’s Market.

I picked up sorted squash, peaches, sheep’s milk feta cheese, a small watermelon, and basil after that it was a quick stop at whole foods for some shrimp.

After a long day it is nice to prepare a quick, easy, healthy meal with just a few ingredients and I did just that. My friend Heather came over and we sipped on some wine and caught up as I got to work in the kitchen.

To start the meal we had:
Peach, Watermelon, Feta and Basil Salad

1 peach
Sliced watermelon
3oz feta cheese
Handful of basil

How to Prepare:
Slice up the peaches and watermelon into a bowl. Dice up basil and mix it in with the fruit. Cut up feta cheese and crumple on top of fruit and basil mixture. Serve.

Note: I like to eat this salad without dressing in order to let the flavors of the fruit speak for themselves. Should you want to add a dressing a splash of Balsamic Vinaigrette adds a nice kick.

For the main course:
Sorted Squash Pasta with Shrimp

1 Zephyr Squash
1 Asian Cousa Squash
1 tbsp Lemon
1 tbsp EVOO
Salt and Pepper to taste
12 Large Shrimp
¼ cup chopped Basil

How to Prepare:
Julienne Squash (I have mentioned my love for my OXO peeler in the past, but a mandolin will also do the trick). Whisk together Lemon and EVOO and add in some salt and pepper to your liking. Add dressing to the squash. Chop up basil and add to squash mixture and let sit (the zucchini will soften when left to sit in the mixture). Next sprinkle a little salt, pepper and lemon on the shrimp and sauté in pan until cooked fully through.

Note: This dish can also be prepared without the shrimp. Great replacement’s for non fish eaters would be haloumi (a greek sheep and goat cheese that is excellent for grilling and holds the shape and texture)
Dinner was a hit! Both dishes where filled with fantastic flavors and it didn’t take more than 30 minutes to prep and cook this meal.

Have you cooked anything from the farmer’s market recently?

Farmer's Market - Part IV

Zucchini, Summer Squash, whatever you chose to call it just be sure to eat it. You may have read my earlier post on the nutritional benefits of summer squash in your diet and today I am back to tell you about a three types of squash from Lani’s Farm Inc. When I stumbled across Lani’s (formerly Yuno’s) I definitely hit the squash jackpot, I had never seen such a large variety. 

Avocado Squash – This unusual summer squash has a great nutty, creamy and rich flavor. The texture is much drier than other squashes and does not fall apart. A grower’s  favorite at Lani’s farm, tastes great when grilled or sautéed with olive oil, garlic or herbs, also great steamed, roasted or even raw in a salad. Need some inspiration? Try out this recipe for Stuffed Avocado Squash.  

Zephyr Squash - A straightneck summer squash, 'Zephyr' has a yellow stem end and is pale green at the blossom end. This hybrid has both a sweet and mild flavor. Steam, sauté, pan fry, boil or eat it raw. This hybrid has fantastic flavors and shouldn’t be missed this summer. 

Asian Cousa Squash – Similar to the Avocado squash, but has much lighter texture and sweeter flavor. This variety of squash can be cooked like any other. Try out this recipe for Cousa Squash Pasta.

Need more ideas? Try out my recipe for Sorted Squash Pasta with Shrimp.

Past Entries:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bon Appétit Barbeque

What better way to spend a warm summer night then pouring a few drinks and cooking up some fabulous food with friends.

Last night a few friends and I got together for a fantastic BBQ meal. We picked out recipes early in the week and each had a list of ingredients to bring. 

Each dish was absolutely perfect and I wanted to share the recipes with you.

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint plus thinly sliced mint for garnish
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes on the vine
1 8-9-ounce package Halloumi cheese, cut crosswise into 8 slices
6 small triangles thinly sliced watermelon, rind removed

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Purée basil, 3 tablespoons mint, and garlic in a blender. With machine running, add 1/2 cup oil. Set a strainer over a small bowl; strain, pressing on solids. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush grill rack with oil. Drizzle 2 tablespoons basil-mint oil over tomatoes and cheese; season with salt and pepper. Grill tomatoes, turning occasionally, until charred and bursting, about 4 minutes. Grill cheese until nicely charred in spots and beginning to melt, about 45 seconds per side.

Arrange melon on a platter. Top with cheese and tomatoes. Drizzle remaining herb oil over; garnish with sliced mint.

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
8 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 hard-boiled egg, peeled
14 ounces Tuscan kale or other kale, center stalks removed, thinly sliced crosswise (about 8 cups)

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a blender; purée until smooth. With machine running, slowly add oil, drop by drop, to make a creamy dressing. Transfer dressing to a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill. DO AHEAD Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Separate egg white from yolk. Place egg white in a coarse-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Press egg white through strainer with the back of a spoon; scrape egg white from bottom of strainer. Repeat with egg yolk, using a clean strainer and bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover bowls separately and chill.

Toss kale and dressing in a large bowl to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and sieved eggs.

On the grill
3 medium orange or red bell peppers (about 1 pound), stemmed, seeded, quartered
4 to 5 slender zucchini (about 1 pound), trimmed, cut lengthwise in half
2 5- to 6-inch pita breads, each cut horizontally into 2 disks, or two 6x4x1/2-inch slices country white bread
Olive oil (for grilling)
For the dish
1 8-ounce cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
12 cherry tomatoes, each halved
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup (scant) pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 4-ounce piece feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (scant 1 cup)

On the Grill
Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush peppers, zucchini, and bread on both sides with oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Grill peppers and zucchini until slightly charred and just tender, turning often, about 6 minutes. Transfer vegetables to foil-lined baking sheet. Grill bread until lightly charred and just crisp, turning often, about 3 minutes. Transfer to sheet with vegetables and cool. Tear bread into 1-inch pieces. DO AHEAD Vegetables and bread can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

For the Dish
Cut peppers lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut zucchini lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in large bowl. Add cucumber, tomatoes, green onions, olives, mint, and cilantro and toss to combine. Add bread pieces. Whisk 1/2 cup oil, lemon juice, and cumin in small bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Add dressing to salad; toss to coat. Add feta and gently mix into salad.

Transfer salad to large bowl. Serve, passing ground sumac for sprinkling over, if desired.

8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 3 pounds)
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 2"piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

Working with one chicken breast at a time, put chicken between 2 sheets of waxed paper and pound to 1/2" thickness. Transfer chicken breasts to a resealable plastic bag.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken, seal bag, and turn to coat. Marinate chicken in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Build a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Brush grill grates with oil. Scrape excess marinade off chicken; season with salt. Grill chicken, turning once, until browned and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side.

Each dish was full of fresh flavors and where perfect for a summer night barbecue, the best part of the whole meal was getting to cook with friends it adds to the fun of the meal!!! 

Will you be barbecuing with friends and family this weekend? What recipes will you be using?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Adventures in Juicing

After weeks of purchasing Blueprint Cleanse and Terri NYC juices I figured it was time to bite the bullet and purchase a juicer. I headed over to Bed Bath & Beyond and picked up the Breville® Juice Fountain® Plus. I had read great reviews online and the woman in the store pointed me in the direction of this juicer so I figured it was the right fit.

Once home with the juicer it was time to hit the gym and head to the Farmer’s Market and Whole Foods. I did not have any set recipes in mind I just wanted to play around and see what combinations I liked together so I grabbed some Kale, Cucumber, Apples, Celery, Parsley, Carrots and Lemons.

Returning home from the supermarket I was so excited to get the juicer out the box and start juicing!!!

Greens with A Hint of Lemon
-          A few stalks of Kale
-          2 stalks of Celery
-          1 Granny Smith Apple
-          ½ Cucumber
-          ¼ Lemon

I was so pleased with the final product, just like the juices I have been spending $6-$9 dollars on each day. I am looking forward to trying out new recipes. This early birthday present to myself is going to be used for years to come!!!!

What are your favorite juice recipes???