Sunday, July 31, 2011

Beans and Feta

Our kids love bean, so I figured this would be a hit... not so much for them, but was great for us.

Garbanzo * Feta * Cucumber
Mix beans, cheese and diced cucumber. Season with salt and pepper and top with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.


This salad could take many more flavors; try adding dill or cilantro or basil, add fresh lemon instead of vinegar.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Three is the magic number

Building recipes with three ingredients is becoming more and more fun. It allows for simple combinations that are easy to put together but make for great dishes.

Toast * Roaster Garlic * Goat Cheese
Roast garlic
Toast bread.
Spread garlic on bread, top with cheese and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper


Tomato * Mozzarella * Arugula
Slice tomatoes (from Lyons Farm)
Slice cheese
Arrange on plate and top with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic.
Dress greens (from Nichols) with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic, season with salt and pepper. Place on top of tomatoes and cheese.


Pimientos de Padrón * Oil * Salt
Heat oil until hot.
Fry pepper for about 3 - 4 minutes. Pat dry on a towel and season with salt


Pimientos de Padrón are a common tapa Spain, but are quite rare here. The fun part is that some (maybe one in five or so) are spicy, so you never know.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Corn and Beets

Remember that corn from yesterday, well I had a little left over...perfect to top some roasted beets.

Beets * Corn * Feta
Roast beets, let cool and cut into wedges.
Grill corn and cut from cob. Toss with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar (about 3 to 1), season with salt and pepper.
Crumble the feta on top of the beets and top with the corn and dressing.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Spicy corn

One of my favorite summer foods is corn. I'll eat it almost any way it comes, but I especially like it grilled on the cob.

This simple preparation adds the sweetness of honey with the spiciness of hot sauce.

Corn * Honey * Hots

Grill the corn with a touch of oil, seasoned with salt and pepper
Melt some butter and add in honey to taste. Add jalapeños or hot sauce, season with salt.
Brush grilled corn with honey butter.

Feel free to squeeze a little lime on as well.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer = Salad

Summer just lends itself to simple salads. Here is another one

Burrata * Asparagus * Arugula
Grill the asparagus.
Dress the greens with salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Place on top of the cheese and top with grilled asparagus.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pizza dough

In my column at Blackberry Mom this week I give some detailed directions for making pizza at home.

Please go check it out here.


Edamame Dip again

Remember that edamame salad from the other night... I was looking for something to do with the rest of the edamame and this worked great...

Edamame * Garlic * Basil
Cook the edamame according to the package. In a food processor blend garlic and basil with oil to form a paste, then add in the edamame. Blend until smooth thinning with a little water. Season with salt and pepper.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Two quick threes

Here are two quick 3 ingredient recipes.

Cabbage * Onion * Carrot
Otherwise know as coleslaw...
Grate all three either using a box grater or the grater attachment on a food processor.
Make a dressing using about 2 parts white or red wine vinegar to 1 part oil. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit for at least an hour before eating.

Corn * Edamame * Onion
Grill the corn and onions. Meanwhile cook the edamame according to the package. Toss everything together with a splash of lime and extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.


I served these as sides with quesadillas.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Broccoli and more broccoli

I keep coming home from the market with buckets of broccoli. It is just so wonderful this time of year.

This was a simple dish that the kids loved, what can go wrong with a little cheese and my son's favorite dressing, mustard.

Broccoli * Parmigiano * Mustard

Toss the broccoli with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 deg oven for about 10 minutes, until it begins to brown. Top with cheese and cook another 5 minutes, until fully cooked and the cheese crispy.

The mustard I added as a dressing. Use about 1 part Dijon mustard to 1 part white wine vinegar to 2 - 3 parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle over the cooked broccoli or can be used as a dipping sauce.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Polenta and mushrooms

Day three saw the use of some mushrooms that had been hiding in the back of the refrigerator.

Polenta * Sage * Mushrooms

Prepare the polenta as shown here, adding a small handful of chopped sage to the broth before adding the cornmeal.
Saute the mushrooms in a touch of butter and season with salt and pepper. When they are cooked, drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Top the polenta with the mushrooms and drizzle with more vinegar, season with salt and pepper and top with thinly sliced sage.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

3 more 3's

Last night I really got into the 3 ingredient recipes... here are 3 3's.

White Beans * Bread * Garlic
Warm oil in a pan and add about 2 cloves garlic, add about 2 cups (one can) beans. Heat until warm, and season with salt and pepper.
Toast the bread and rub with garlic.
To serve, drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and season with salt and pepper.


Beets * Arugula * Caramelized Onion
Roast beets.
Caramelize onions
Toss with arugula and drizzle with oil and Balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper.


Burrata * Tomatoes * Basil
Slice open the cheese, top with tomatoes and basil. Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Glaze. Season with salt and pepper.


Monday, July 18, 2011

30 recipes 3 Ingredients

So for my latest cooking adventure I plan to make 30 dishes that each only consist of three ingredients. I have often said how easy cooking can be and I hope to share some of the easiest recipes that I can create.

Before I dive into the first recipe I wanted to set some self prescribed rules (it's my idea so I can make the rules too).
I will sometimes uses sauces that may in themselves use more than one ingredient, this first recipe is one, but will could the sauce as a single item. I will not count salt and pepper and sometimes oil and vinegar, otherwise most dishes will be dry and tasteless. Most recipes will have rough measurements, as it is about the combination, feel free to tweak them to your taste. I will also included additions to take the recipe up a notch, but those will be secondary to the three ingredient recipe. I hope you try and enjoy these.

Here goes with the first:

Kohlrabi * Mustard * Pesto
julienne kohlrabi
mix Dijon mustard and pesto about 1:1, thin with oil if desired. Season with salt and pepper.


This can be topped with nuts to add an extra crunch, try toasted pine nuts.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Frontera Margarita

When summer rolls around I find that I am drawn to more fruity and cold drinks. This is a great and fairly simple margarita that I've been making for years, from the great Rick Bayless. It is great for parties too, because you can make the base ahead and just shake with ice at the last minute.

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
zest of about 2 limes
1/4 cup sugar
10 oz water
3/4 cups taquila
1 oz orange liqueur such as Gran Marnier or triple sec (optional)
limes for garnish
course salt

Zest the limes and mix with the juice, you can add the pulp as it will all be strained out later.


In a pan mix the sugar and water and heat until the sugar dissolves, then mix with the lime juice. Place in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours or over night.


Before serving, fill the glasses with ice water. This will help keep them cold longer.


In a shaker, fill with ice. Add the taquila and strain the lime syrup in. Shake well.


Dump the water from the glasses. To salt, rub the rim with lime then dunk in a plate with salt. Strain the margarita into glasses and garnish with lime wedge or wheel.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dark and Stormy

No I am not talking about the crappy weather we have been having here in Chicago... A Dark and Stormy is what may be my new summer cocktail. It is a simple drink of ginger beer, rum and lime.

In my typical fashion, I decided to make my own ginger beer. (I looked into making my own rum, but the whole Still thing is a bit more than I want to take on.)

I found this seemingly simple recipe and went to work.

Homemade Ginger Beer

1 ounce ginger juice
2 ounces fresh lemon juice, finely strained
3 ounces simple syrup

10 ounces warm water
1/4 tsp yeast


To make the ginger juice, finely grate the ginger. As you won't be using the solids its not necessary to peel it. I had already, so tossed the peels in the simple syrup to make a ginger syrup.


With a cheese cloth, squeeze out the juice from the ginger.


Add all the ingredients to the bottle, give it a shake and let sit 48 on the counter. After which pop it in the refrigerator.


Now it's time for your Dark and Stormy.

Dark and Stormy
Ginger Beer

Fill a glass with ice and top with 1 - 2 oz rum, fill mostly with the ginger beer and squeeze in half a lime. Enjoy!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A little selfish promotion

I was just featured on Check it out:

Goat Cheese Squash Blossoms

This past weekend I picked up some awesome looking squash blossoms from Nichol's Farm. They make such a great presentation with the great orange leaves and the pocket to fill with any number of fillings. I went with a simple herbed goat cheese and a quick fry in a tempura batter.


Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms
about a dozen squash blossoms
3 -4 oz goat or other soft cheese
herbs, I used thyme
1 -2 garlic cloves, diced
salt and pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Garlic Oil

about one cup flour
1 TSB corn starch
about one cup beer

oil for fying

Mix the cheese with the herbs, garlic and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Using a pastry bag with a large tip, or a plastic bag with the corner cut, carefully fill the blossoms with the cheese mixture about 2/3 full.


Twist the ends to seal and place in the refrigerator, until ready to serve. The cold cheese will be less likely to melt all over before the outside is cooked.


When ready to fry, heat oil in a large pot to about 350 deg. In a large bowl mix the flour and corn starch and season with salt and pepper. Mix in the beer until the batter is about the consistency of thin pancake batter. Dunk the blossoms in the batter then straight in the hot oil.


Cook a few minutes a side, until nicely browned.


Pat dry on a paper towel, then sprinkle with salt.


Flat Bread Take 2

The other day I made grilled flat bread. After make two, I realized that we weren't going to finish more, so rather than make it all. I put the left over dough in the refrigerator. Then before using it again, I took it our an hour or so before to warm up.

Not wanting to heat up the grill I cooked it a cast iron pan. I preheated the oven with the pan in the middle to 550. Then following the same directions, stretched the dough, brushed with oil and tossed in the hot pan. A couple minutes a side and it was ready.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Grilled Flat Bread

What better way to celebrate summer than some grilling. There is nothing like hot flat bread right off the grill, with the nicely charred outside and light fluffy inside.
I used a naan recipe with a few simple modifications from this awesome Indian cook book.

Grilled Flat Bread
500 g (4 cups ) flour, I used 400 g white, 100 g wheat
1 1/4 cup milk, warmed slightly
2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 Tbs butter, melted
1 Tbs garlic oil
3/4 cup yogurt
2 -3 cloves garlic

Mix the yogurt, egg, oil, butter and garlic.


In a large bowl mix the flours, salt, baking powder. In a small bowl mix yeast with a little milk.


Now mix everything together to form a single mass. Turn onto a flour surface a knead a few minutes. Let rest about 15 minutes, then mix a few more minutes.


Form into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic and let rest until double, at least an hour, maybe more.


After resting, turn onto floured work surface.


Divide into even sized portions. I like using a scale to keep them all about the same size.


Let rest while heating up the grill. Just before you are ready, stretch out the dough. It is better to use your hands rather than a rolling pin as this can make the dough tough. Brush with oil.


Place the dough straight onto a hot grill. After a couple of minutes the outside will char slightly and will be easily flipped. Brush with oil before flipping.


Cook on second side for a few minutes. You can drizzle a little more garlic oil on after removing.