Monday, June 26, 2017

Peaches and Nectarines With Rosemary Lavender Syrup

A refreshing salad for those host summer days.  Juicy, sweet peaches and nectarines  tossed in syrup flavored with rosemary and lavender.   Add some pecans and you have a perfect dish you can serve as a summer salad or dessert.


Peaches and Nectarines With Rosemary Lavender Syrup

Ingredients: 

3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch kosher salt
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
3 ripe white or yellow peaches, sliced
3 ripe white or yellow nectarines, sliced
1/2 cup pecan halves

Directions:
1. Place the honey, water, sugar, lemon juice and pinch of kosher salt  in a small saucepan.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer and swirl until sugar is dissolved.
2.  Remove saucepan from heat. Add rosemary and lavender buds.  Stir and let syrup cool. Once cool remove the sprig of rosemary.
3. Toss peaches, nectarine, and pecans with the syrup in a large bowl.  Serve.

Makes 4-6 servings





Friday, June 23, 2017

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja

I found this fantastic recipe in the latest edition of Cook's Country June/July 2017.   Ropa Vieja  is  Cuba's national dish.   The legend for this dish is a man too poor to afford meat for his family stirred some old clothes  ("ropa vieja" in Spanish) into a pot of broth. He prayed over the pot and later ladled out a rich stew of beef and vegetables.

This tasty dish comes together very nicely in a slow cooker.  Start by cooking some red  bell peppers and onions in a skillet until soft.  Then you push the veggies aside and add a mixture of tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt.  You then add some white wine to the mixture.  Once the wine has evaporated pour the sauce into the slow cooker.  Add some soy sauce and bay leaves.  Next nestle the flank steak into the veggies.  Cook on low for about 6-7 hours.  When the meat is done, shred the meat, return to the slow cooker and add some sliced olives and vinegar.  Stir  - season with salt and pepper if needed and serve over rice.

Your family will have a very tasty and satisfying meal that was easy to prepare.


Slow-Cooker Ropa Vieja
From Cook's Country Magazine

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, halved and sliced thin
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 garlic cloves,minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 (2-pound) flank steak, trimmed and cut crosswise against grain into 4 equal pieces
3/4 cup pitted green olives, sliced
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Cooked rice

Directions:
1. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add onions and bell peppers and cook, covered, until softened and spotty brown, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Push vegetables to sides of skillet.  Add tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to enter and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir vegetables into tomato paste mixture.  Add wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.  Transfer vegetable mixture, soy sauce, and bay leaves to slow cooker.  Season steak with salt and pepper and nestle into vegetable mixture.  Cover and cook until meat is very tender, 6 to 7 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high.






3. Transfer steak to cutting board.  Discard bay leaves.  Using 2 forks, shred steak into bite-size pieces, then return it to slow cooker.  Stir in olives and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve over cooked rice.

Serves 4 to 6





Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pancakes

Pancakes are a wonderful meal to prepare anytime.  They are easy and you can add blueberries, pecans, chocolate chips, granola -  whatever you feel to make them a personal favorite.  I usually make a large quantity and freeze them so you can just pop them into the microwave when you need a quick breakfast or a pick-me-up.

There are so many wonderful recipes out there but my personal favorite is the one I found from the NY Times Cooking.  It is your basic recipe of flour, salt, eggs, milk, butter, and baking powder.   I like it because you can add whatever flavors you wish.



Pancakes
NYT Cooking

INGREDIENTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar, optional
2 eggs
1 ½ to 2 cups milk
2 tablespoons melted and cooled butter (optional), plus unmelted  butter for cooking, or use neutral oil

PREPARATION
Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Beat eggs into 1 1/2 cups milk, then stir in 2 tablespoons melted cooled butter, if using it. Gently stir this mixture into dry ingredients, mixing only enough to moisten flour; don't worry about a few lumps. If batter seems thick, add a little more milk.
Place a teaspoon or 2 of butter or oil on griddle or skillet. When butter foam subsides or oil shimmers, ladle batter onto griddle or skillet, making pancakes of any size you like. Adjust heat as necessary; usually, first batch will require higher heat than subsequent batches. Flip pancakes after bubbles rise to surface and bottoms brown, after 2 to 4 minutes.
Cook until second side is lightly browned. Serve, or hold on an ovenproof plate in a 200-degree oven for up to 15 minutes.






Thursday, June 8, 2017

Pasta Primavera

I have made this dish for years.  Fresh veggies and pasta tossed with chicken broth, butter and cheese.  A delicious and light meal that is  perfect for hot summer days.

I found this recipe in a favorite Italian Cookbook - Italian Family Cooking Like Mama Used to Make by Anne Casale.  A great cookbook loaded with lots of fantastic and easy to follow recipes.


Pasta Primavera

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds asparagus
1 pound zucchini
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound gemelli (twists)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup chicken broth, heated
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano    cheese
Freshly grated Parmigiano cheese for serving

Directions:

1. Wash asparagus several times in lukewarm water to remove sand.  Refresh in cold water, drain well in a strainer and blot dry with paper towel.  Slice off tough ends.  If asparagus are thin they will not have to be peeled; if larger, peel lower portion with a vegetable peeler.  Slice diagonally into 1-inch lengths and place tips in a separate bowl.
2. Scrub zucchini and blot dry with paper towel.  Trim both ends and cut into 2-inch lengths.  Slice each piece into 1/2-inch strips.
3. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat until haze forms, then add 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in garlic and saute until lightly golden; discard with a slotted spoon.  Add scallions and cook until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes.  Add the bottoms of the asparagus and cook until barely tender when tested with a fork, about 2 minutes.  Add zucchini and cook, stirring constantly with spoon until tender, about 2 minutes.  Stir in asparagus tips, l teaspoon salt and pepper; continue stirring and cook until tips are barely tender when tested with fork, about 2 minutes (do not over cook tips or they will fall apart when tossed with pasta).
4. While you are cooking vegetables, cook pasta in 6 quarts boiling water with 1 tablespoon salt until al dente.  Drain pasta in a colander, transfer to a bowl containing 1 tablespoon softened butter and toss quickly.
5. Mix half of the vegetables, heated broth and Parmigiana cheese with pasta; toss well.  Spoon remaining vegetable mixture on top and serve with additional fresh grated Parmigiana cheese.

Serves 4 - Main course
Serves 6 - First course




Sunday, June 4, 2017

Garlic Knots

I love Garlic Knots.  They are a great bread to serve with any meal or just to eat all by themselves.  You can make your own bread dough or use pizza dough.  Just cut the dough into strips, tie a knot and bake.  Top with  butter, garlic and  parsley.

I found this recipe on Simply Recipes.  I used the dough recipe and the knots turned out delicious.  Next time I am going to try using pizza dough.


Garlic Knots
From Simply Recipes




INGREDIENTS
If you are making your own dough:
3/4 cup warm water (105°F-115°F)
1 package (2 teaspoons) of active dry yeast (check the expiration date on the package)
1 3/4 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose but bread flour will give you a crisper crust)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

If you are using store-bought pizza dough:
14-ounces pizza dough

Garlic-Butter Coating:
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup parsley, minced
1 teaspoon salt

METHOD
If you are making your own dough, follow steps 1-3. If using store-bought pizza dough, let thaw to room temperature and proceed to step 4.
1 Proof the yeast: Sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Stir to combine and let sit for another 5-10 minutes, until it begins to froth a bit.
2 Make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the olive oil, then the yeast-water mixture.
Mix this together to form a soft dough and knead for 5-10 minutes. (Can use a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook for this step.)
3 Let the dough rise: Shape the dough into a ball and lightly coat with olive oil. Put it in a large bowl, top the bowl with plastic wrap and set it at room temperature to rise to double its size. This should take anywhere from 90 minutes to several hours.
4 Quarter the dough and flatten into rectangles: When the dough has doubled in size, cut it in half. Set out a large baking sheet and line it with a silicone pad or parchment paper. Take one half of the dough and cut it in half.
Working with one piece at a time, flatten into a rough rectangle about 5 inches long 1/2 inch thick.
5 Slice into strips and form knots: Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into strips of about 1 inch wide by 5 inches long. Cut these strips in half.
Take one piece and work it into a snake, then tie it in a knot. The dough will be sticky along the cut edges, so dust these with flour before you tie the knot.
Set each knot down on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. Remember that the dough will rise, so leave some space between each knot.
6 Brush with olive oil and let sit to rise: Once all the knots are tied, paint them with a little olive oil.
Loosely cover them with plastic wrap and let them rise again until doubled in size, anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours or so. Toward the end of this rising period, preheat the oven to 400°.
7 Bake the knots: Uncover the knots and bake in the oven 12-15 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.
8 Make garlic butter parsley glaze: Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pot and cook the garlic gently in it just long enough to take off that raw garlic edge, about 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the salt and parsley and stir to combine. Turn off the heat.
9 Brush cooked knots with garlic parsley butter mixture: When the knots are done, take out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Paint with the garlic-butter-parsley mixture and serve. These are best warm, but are good at room temperature, too.