Friday, August 26, 2011

I'll have that on the side please.....

Lee loves meat and potatoes. Usually, I make Ina's Dilled Fingerlings (recipe here on my blog!) because they are easy and delicious every time. But last night I decided to make Giada's  Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemons (I say their first names as if they are my friends. Alas, they are my friends.....only in my mind!).

Anyway, this recipe is so satisfying and I wanted to share it with you.

Click here to see the recipe online!

Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemons
(a la my very best friend, Giada.       Kidding).



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the potatoes: Put the potatoes in an 8-quart stockpot with enough cold water to cover by at least 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and allow to dry for 5 minutes. Using the palm of your hand, gently press the potatoes until lightly smashed.

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 cup of oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly brown, about 1 minute. Remove the garlic and discard.

In batches, add the potatoes and cook, without stirring, until the bottoms turn golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the potatoes over and cook, drizzling with oil, if needed, until golden brown on the other side for another 5 to 8 minutes.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spoon the dressing over the potatoes and toss gently until coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl and serve.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Roasted Strawberry Tart

Lee and I went to the Farmer's Market yesterday and bought a bunch of fresh strawberries. Knowing we wouldn't be able to finish them before they go bad, I thought I'd make a strawberry tart. However, I didn't want all the fat and calories of the deeeeeelicious cream that goes under the fruit in a fresh fruit tart. So my brain went to the easy fruit tarts I like to make. However, I'd never made one with strawberries! I'd only used peaches, apricots and apples. I searched the Internet and found that there were cooks out there who'd tried it already so I decided to give it a try too.

I ended up using the crust recipe from one person and the general idea for the filling from another, but I made a change. She had used the juice of a lemon (which I'm sure would be very fresh and tasty). However, I had just about 2 teaspoons of my very good balsamic vinegar left and because it wasn't really enough to use for anything else, I thought I would substitute it for the lemon and the result was fantastic. 

The crust recipe made enough dough for me to make 2 smaller sized tarts - one for me and one for Lee. You can make this into one large tart if you'd like.

Here's the recipe for the crust (torn from the pages of Food and Wine, August 1999):

1 C flour
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 TBL cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 TBL sour cream (I used plain Greek yogurt because that's all I had)

1. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Pulse until mixed. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles course meal. Chill the work bowl for 15 minutes.

This barely holds together, but that's ok!

2. Replace the work bowl, add the sour cream and process until the mixture resembles coarse sand (Mine gathered up into a nice little ball and it turned out just fine).  Gather the dough into a ball and pat it into a disk. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

For the Tart:

2 C sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 C sugar
2 tsp very good aged balsamic (you can substitute fresh lemon juice too)
1/2 tsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1-2 pats of unsalted butter for dotting
sugar for dusting the tart


1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, sugar, balsamic vinegar, corn starch and salt. Gently stir to combine.

3. Unwrap the dough and put between to sheets of plastic wrap. Roll to an 8 inch circle (if making one large tart, roll to about 12 inches). Place rolled dough onto a sheet pan lined with parchment or a silpat mat (GREAT for baking - nothing sticks to it - you can find these at Williams Sonoma).  click here to see the silpat mat!  Pile the strawberries in the middle of the dough (try not to get too much juice) - you can lay these in a lovely pinwheel pattern if you like, but I don't have the patience for it and I like rustic looking things anyway. Use 1 cup of berries per tart if you are making 2 tarts. Don't put the berries to the edge, leave a border.

4. Fold up the edges of the dough over the berries, just at the edge, overlapping and crimping a bit to seal. Lightly brush the edges of the tart with the egg. Dot the berries with a few bits of butter and sprinkle the whole thing, lightly, with some sugar.

5. Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Eat while warm. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lemon Orzo on the side

If you've read any of my previous blog posts, you'll know that most all of the recipes here are not my originals (there are a few exceptions though!). This recipe is from Food Network and it is very simple and makes a great side for any seafood or meat dish, or a great little lunch too. If you've never had orzo, it is pasta - not a grain. It cooks very quickly and is just plain yummy. There are countless ways you can make orzo, but as I said, this is a very simple and delicious recipe - I hope you enjoy it!

Click here to see the recipe online!

Simmer 1 cup orzo in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon dried mint, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon paprika (I used smoked paprika - my FAVORITE!) and 2 strips of lemon zest, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is tender, 12 - 15 minutes. Let cool slightly. Stir in 2 chopped scallions, the juice of 1 lemon and salt to taste.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake!

I have heard that Marie Antoinette never really said that well-known phrase. It has only been attributed to her through the years of history.  I suppose that as she was being led to her be-heading, that she might have been in a bad mood. She could've said, "Let them eat LIVER!"  or.... "Let them eat COCONUT"!! (a true punishment for me). But I think that if she said, "Let them eat Cake!"....well, that's kind of a nice wish.   Cake is happy food.  Let's eat cake!!

Ok....I am being so silly here I can't stand myself so I will break from the direction I was going in and say that I love cake. Lee loves Angel Food Cake and today I decided to make one for him. I got out my Martha Stewart recipe book and found this one and it is delicious (I don't post any recipes on this blog that I think are yucky.....hence the lack of liver and/or coconut recipes).

I neglected to take pictures of the beginnings of the process, but it's just sifting and whipping the egg whites - I'm sure you already know how to do that.

The other thing I neglected to do was to run my knife a bit more through the batter - it would've made the raspberries mix a bit better. As you can see from the picture, it looks like the cake has a "filling", but it is supposed to have more of a "ribbon". Still, the taste was delicious.

Lastly - never, EVER grease your angel food pan! The batter needs to "pull itself" up the sides of the pan and can't do that properly if it is greased. I learned this one the hard way.

Because the directions are a bit lengthy, I am not going to post it all here - just click on the link below to see the Ingredients and Directions!

Click here to see Martha's recipe online!

Gently folding in the sifted flour...

Parchment on bottom - UNGREASED pan!

Some raspberry puree on the whites...

Just out of the oven...

Peeling off the parchment...

Ready to eat....

Let them eat cake!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Coleslaw with Old Bay Seasoning

My husband loves cabbage. He will tear a leaf off a new head of cabbage and eat it like it's candy. Seriously.  I enjoy my cabbage when it's made into a slaw and this recipe is fantastic. I had tried many other recipes before this one, and after Lee tasted this, he said "this is my favorite - please make this every time you make cole slaw".  I thought, EASY! I can do that!  And it is exactly what I've done ever since.

This recipe is so easy (like all of the rest of the recipes I post here!).  The only thing it requires is 2 hours refrigeration once you have put the ingredients together.

Click here for the online recipe!


  • 1 head green cabbage (about 2 lbs.)

  • 2 large carrots, peeled

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into very narrow strips (capsicum)

  • 4 green onions, finely chopped including green tops

  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • Directions

    1.  Cut the cabbage into wedges. Cut out and discard the hard core from each wedge. Using a food processor fitted with the slicing disk, cut the cabbage into fine shreds. (The cabbage can also be thinly sliced by hand). Transfer to a large bowl.

    2.  Fit the processor with a shredding disk and shred the carrots. (The carrots can also be shredded by hand using the largest holes of a box grater-shredder). Add the carrots to the bowl with the cabbage.

    3.  Sprinkle the cabbage and carrots with the vinegar and mix well. Stir in the bell pepper strips and green onion.
    4.  Add the mayonnaise and Old Bay Seasoning and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. Serve cold.

    My Notes: I like to use an OXO Mandoline see my post called "Old Fashioned Cucumber and Red Onion Salad" to see the picture of it - it has become and invaluable tool in my kitchen! Also, I only use 3/4 C mayo (Best Foods ONLY!) instead of 1 C. I just think it tastes better that way. Lastly, I mix the mayo and the old bay together, then add it to the slaw. Doing it this way eliminates clumps of spice in the slaw.

    Individual Blackberry Cobblers

    I was going to the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner tonight and I asked my husband, "Do you want anything for dessert?". I, of course, was hoping he would say, "oh, just pick up some gelato or something easy because it's too hot to cook". But no. He didn't say that. He said, "Blackberry Cobbler". I knew he was kidding me.....but I gave him that, Oh REEEAAAALLY?????? sort of look, as if to say, "don't dare me because I will make it".

    It's August right now and I found some gorgeous blackberries at the store.....and I knew I had to make cobbler.....even though it's blazing hot and I would regret turning on the oven. I got some vanilla bean gelato and headed home.

    While Lee was outside doing his barbeque magic on a tri-tip, I was inside making Old Bay Cole Slaw (recipe to be posted here soon) and Ina Gartens' Dilled Fingerlings (recipe posted here!). After dinner I turned on the oven and thought, "WHAT was I THINKING??!!  It is SO hot right now". YES....yes, we have air conditioning.....but we don't have a big house and the oven vents into our kitchen.....that's a whole 'nother story I am not going to tell. Suffice to say, when I turn on the oven, it gets very warm in the kitchen. Good for Winter. Bad for Summer.    I digress.

    I had found this Betty Crocker recipe online and was looking forward to making it because it was crazy simple. However, I decided to cut the recipe in half and use ramekins instead of one pan as the recipe calls for. It turned out perfectly!

    Lee and I kept saying "oh man....this is so good" as we devoured our little cobblers. Needless to say it was worth it to turn up the heat in the kitchen!

    Here is the crazy simple and crazy delicious Betty Crocker recipe for Blackberry Cobbler:

    Click here for the website recipe!

    With Gelato.....!
    2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) blackberries (do not use blueberries)
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup milk
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    Cream, whipped cream or ice cream, if desired
    1. In medium bowl, stir together blackberries and sugar. Let stand about 20 minutes or until fruit syrup forms. Heat oven to 375°F.

    2. In large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and milk. Stir in melted butter until blended. Spread in ungreased 8-inch square pan. Spoon blackberry mixture over batter.

    3. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until dough rises and is golden. Serve warm with cream.

    My notes: I split this recipe in half and used four ramekins instead of one large dish. I also used fresh blackberries (one container - about 1 1/4 C - perfect for splitting the recipe in half!) and baked for 40 minutes.