Saturday, August 28, 2010

Grilled Figs

I saw fresh figs at the store and couldn't pass up the chance to enjoy them.

This is an easy elegant recipe.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Grilled Figs
fresh figs
1 - 2 tsp goat cheese per fig, at room temp.
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar
olive oil

To make the balsamic glace, boil several ounces of vinegar over low heat for about 15 minutes until thickened. Add a sprinkle of thyme. Set aside to cool.

Slice the figs about 3/4 through from the bottom, leaving the stem attached, to create a little pocket.

To make the filling, mix the goat cheese with the honey, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

Fill in the pocket of the figs with a scoop of the cheese, then squeeze together. Place them in the refrigerator for at least an hour to harden the cheese again. This will prevent it all from melting out on the grill.

Warm a grill to medium low. Drizzle the figs with a touch of oil and season with salt and pepper.Grill on both sides until the are soft and the cheese is warmed.

Finish by drizzling some of the balsamic glaze on top.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Salted Caramel Gelato Brownie Sandwiches

Nothing like a little treat for a summer day. These ice cream sandwiches surely fit the bill.

I made a recipe of Gail's Brownies, but baked them in a larger pan to end up with a thinner brownie.

I made this awesome gelato to fill the sandwiches. Cut the brownie into two and spread half with the gelato.

Then top with the other half and brownie. Freeze for several hours until firm.

Make a chocolate sauce to top (because it isn't rich enough). Start with a simple syrup of half cup water and half cup sugar, warm until smooth. Then add four ounces chocolate.

After the sandwich has set, trim the edges.

Spread the chocolate sauce over the tops. Then return to the freezer over night.

Cut into individual pieces and enjoy.

North and South

Cous Cous hails from North Africa and the Middle East, basically the southern Mediterranean. Tomatoes, basil and cheese are quintessential Italian, on the northern coast of the Mediterranean.

I used the cous cous here as a substitute to pasta, in a take on a caprese flavored dish.

Isreali cous cous is the larger variety, and when cooked creates a nice pearl to soak up the flavors of the tomatoes.

Boil in salted water for about 8 minutes until al dante. Drain and toss with oil.

To this add oven roasted tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or cold.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Grilled Eggplant Parm

This is a variation on the classic breaded version, except I grilled it and used fresh tomatoes instead of tomato sauce.

Grilled Eggplant Parm
1 large eggplant, slices into 1/4 inch slices
1 ball fresh mozzarella
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
Italian herbs

Slice the eggplant and sprinkle with salt, let rest at least one hour. Then pat dry and brush with oil that is seasoned with herbs and salt and pepper.

Grill on both sides.

Thinly slice the cheese and tomato.

In a baking dish, place a layer of eggplant, then tomato then cheese and top with Parm.

Continue layering with the eggplant, then tomato, then cheese.

Bake in 400 deg oven until the cheese is melted.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I've never been a huge ketchup fan, it's fine with fries every once in a while. I am more into mustard, but Auden recently was asking about why we don't have it at home. The main reason is that the stuff you buy is mostly sugar anyway, and HFCS at that.

That was reason enough to make it. The goal was to make something that wasn't all sugar but had a great sweet tangy flavor. To do this, I caramelized the onions, bringing out their natural sweetness and used balsamic vinegar instead of white or cider. In the end, these produced a great flavor without adding any sugar.

Homemade Ketchup
One onion, sliced
olive oil
about 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
one large can tomatoes
salt and pepper

In a medium sauce pan, warm a little oil and add the onion and a sprinkle of salt. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally

Cook for about 45 minutes, until the onions are nicely caramelized.

Add the balsamic, and cook a few more minutes, until reduced slightly.

Meanwhile, puree the tomatoes.

Add the tomato puree to the onions. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook over medium low heat until reduced and thick, about another hour (or more), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Puree again, then pass through a mess sieve.

Place in a squeeze bottle and enjoy.