Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Suggested by Heather - Giada's Roman Summer Salad

My friend had us over yesterday and made this really nice salad she saw on Giada deLaurentiis' show called Roman Summer Salad. It was really nice - she sent me the recipe:

Roman Summer Salad

1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup pitted green and black olives or calamatta olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped (optional)
2 tbsp. capers drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove minced
8 fresh basil leaves shredded
1/2 tsp. black pepper
6 tbsp. olive oil
1 pound vine ripe tomatoes (about 3) sliced 1/4 inch thick

Cook the balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan over low heat until thick, syrupy, and measuring a 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes. set aside to cool.Combine the olives, parsley, anchovies, capers, garlic, pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl and toss to combine.To serve, layer the tomatoes slightly overlapping, on a serving plate. Spoon the mixture over the tomatoes. Drizzle the balsamic sauce over the salad and serve.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Kris's Famous Blackened Fish Tacos, by Kris

Tonight I made my famous Blackened Fish Tacos. My family (well, not my children, but me and my wife) love the fish tacos. I used fresh cilantro from my garden... I call them Blackened, although they are not truly blackened - but I use a cajun spice rub and put them on the grill.

Blackened Fish Tacos:

spice rub:
- 1 tsp course salt (I use sea salt)
- 1 TBSP smoked paprika
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp course ground black pepper
- 1/2 TBSP garlic powder
- 1 TBSP onion powder
- 1/2 TBSP ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander seed
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil

Mix together in small tupperware (I throw it into a small tupperware with a lid and shake the hell out of it until it's mixed well).

For the tacos:
- Mahi Mahi fillets (I use 1 fillet for 2 tacos)
- 1 fresh lime
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- cajun spice rub (see above)

Cilantro-Lime sour cream
- 1 container sour cream
- juice of 1 fresh lime
- handful of cilantro
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

Putting it together:
I used Mahi Mahi for my tacos, but any firm white flesh fish will work (cod, halibut, tilapia, blue marlin). Heat the grill on high while preparing the fillets. I put a small amount of olive oil on the fish, then squeeze a lime over them. Rub the oil and lime juice into the fish, then sprinkle liberally with the spice rub (every bit of fish is covered in the spice rub). Turn the grill down to low and cook fish until done (our grill has 3 heating elements, I usually cook the fish in the middle element on low while the 2 side elements are on medium-high heat). Combine all the ingredients for the cilantro-lime sour cream in a blender and mix until it looks like a green cream sauce. Take the fish off the grill when it is done and squeeze more fresh lime juice over them while they are hot.

To assemble the tacos, I put corn torillas on the hot grill for a few seconds each side. Add a small sprinkling of cheese, place 1/2 fish fillet (cut lengthwise) on the tortilla, top with shredded cabbage, cilantro-lime cour cream, some pico de gallo, fresh cilantro sprigs and a fresh lime wedge. Of course, it goes best served with a tall, cold Mexican beer with lime wedges as well.... I hope that you all try it!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Granny's Tuna and Shells, from Betsy

It's already so bloody hot I couldn't stand the thought of cooking tonight, so I whipped up a batch of one of my summertime staples. This is my grandmother's recipe. I don't actually measure anything, so play it by ear. Also qualifies for cheap meal status:

Granny's Tuna and Shells

1 pound box medium shell pasta
2 cans tuna, drained
3 ribs celery, diced
1/2 small onion, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup Italian dressing
cider vinegar
salt and pepper

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water

2. In a large bowl, mix pasta with vegetables and tuna.

3. Add the mayo, starting with 1/2 cup, and go until it's as moist as you like. Stir in the Italian dressing. Add a splash of cider vinegar (a couple teaspoons). Season with s & p to taste.

4. Cover and chill for several hours. I like to make this in the morning, so I don't have to turn the stove on when it's hot out.Serve with any snack cracker like Ritz or saltines.

Suggested by Rachael - Crockpot Baked Beans

This is the first time I am trying baked beans in the crockpot; I got the recipe from The Crockery Cook.

1 lb Small White Beans
4 1/2 cups H2O
1/3 cup Molasses
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 Onion, chopped
1/4 lb Salt Pork, cubed
1 tablespoon Dijon-style Mustard
1/? teaspoon salt (ed: 1/4 tsp sounds good!)

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 13 hours, stirring occasionally.

I got up at 6am when my husband left for work to put them on. I'm hoping 12 hours ends up being enough cooking time. I added a little BBQ sauce.

Onion Rings, from Alison

I had a bunch of sweet onions from the CSA, so I made...

Onion Rings


1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large sweet onion
oil for frying


In a large bowl, beat egg and add milk. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cut onion into thick slices.Dip the onion into the milk mixture and then coat with the flour mixture. Repeat (this is important.) Heat the oil to 350 in deep fryer.Fry onion rings, a few at a time...I forget the exact time. It will take a few mins.

**Note-- I doubled the recipe, and it was just enough batter for 3 large onions

Suggested by Rachael - Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Tonight we are trying out Asian Pulled Pork Sandwiches from the latest issue of Family Fun. I am subbing beef though because that's what I had.

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger (I am subbing ground ginger)
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
4 pounds boneless Boston butt pork roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 2 inch chunks (I am subbing beef and only using 2 pounds of meat)
10 buns

Add everything but meat and buns to crockpot and whisk to combine. Add meat and coat. Cover and cook meat on low 8 hours.Remove meat from crockpot with a slotted spoon and shred. Return meat to the crockpot, stir in sauce, then serve on buns.

I am making slaw and corn with it.

Suggested by Rachael - Anthony's Lime Chicken with Pasta

Anthony's Lime Chicken with Pasta

I got penne for the pasta. Some of the reviews were saying not to bread the chicken so I may not.

French Dip-ish Sandwiches, from Alison

French Dip-ish Sandwiches


1 can beef broth (I used low sodium)
1 pound sliced deli roast beef
8 slices provolone cheese
4 kaiser rolls, split


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Open the rolls and lay out on a baking sheet. Heat broth over medium-high heat. Place the roast beef in the broth and warm for 3 minutes (I did this in 2 batches). Divide meat on rolls, then top with provolone and the top half of the roll.Bake the sandwiches in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese just begins to melt. Serve with small bowls of the warm broth for dipping.