Linguini with Fresh Tomatoes and mozzarella!

Sometimes the best recipes are born completely by accident! The other night I made a pasta with artichoke lemon pesto, and served it with a plate of fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basilCannedtomatoes, that I had drizzled with truffle oil.   We were so full by the time it came to eat the tomatoes that my husband told me to save them for the next day. I had a lot of linguini left over, and I added the tomato mixture to it, with lots of fresh olive oil, more fresh tomatoes, 5 cloves of pressed garlic , the rest of the mozzarella, some parmesan and handfuls of minced fresh herbs and parsley! Sea salt to taste and the next nights supper was created. You can eat this at room temperature, but I prefer it slightly warmed, so that the mozzarella is oozing everywhere. I had only red tomatoes, but I would love to eat this with several different  types, maybe a few of the gorgeously coloured heirloom varieties. A little garlic bread, a chilled rose', a bit of opera, the right companion.....The possibilities are endless!

Picture is courtesy of  www.myownlabels.com , the best private label site that I've ever found for creating labels that are worthy of adorning jars of your prize winning tomato sauces or canned peaches!


Sugar Snap Peas & Fresh Peaches!

Peas2 Yesterday I made a fabulous discovery! I  had purchased some beautiful sugar snap peas at the market the day before and I was looking for a different way to prepare them. If you've never tried them, there is absolutely nothing like the flavor of a raw sugar snap pea! They are crispy, fresh and sweet, with the most satisfying texture.   Usually I steam them,  but this time, I tossed them into a pan lightly coated with olive oil and set them to sauteing. I wanted to add something to them, and usually I would grab a handful of fresh mint, but today I wanted something a bit more flavorful. The local peaches are beginning to be just gorgeous ....ripe and juicy, dripping down your chin pleasurable!  I diced one up and threw it into the pan  with the peas and let the soft heat work its magic. Within seconds the peas and peaches had formed a passionate relationship, the peas retaining their crispness, and the peaches melting like butter all around them. The whole process took about 5 minutes, and then I added just a sprinkling of cinnamon, fresh nutmeg and some allspice,  adding a bit of spiciness to the already sensual flavor.  They didn't need  butter although if you wanted  you could finish them with just a wee bit of it.  It was a really pretty dish as well, and would look lovely on a platter surrounded by some freshly sliced peaches for a garnish! I served it with a pasta last night, but today I'm going to try it with some slow cooked organic lamb shanks. That should be a marriage made in heaven!

Picture courtesy of www.williegreensorganicfarm.com   a site I discovered when looking for a picture. They have a wonderful recipe for peas with mango sauce, and a roasted pea recipe which sounds just amazing!


Sugar Snap Peas & Fresh Peaches!

Peas2 Yesterday I made a fabulous discovery! I  had purchased some beautiful sugar snap peas at the market the day before and I was looking for a different way to prepare them. If you've never tried them, there is absolutely nothing like the flavor of a raw sugar snap pea! They are crispy, fresh and sweet, with the most satisfying texture.   Usually I steam them,  but this time, I tossed them into a pan lightly coated with olive oil and set them to sauteing. I wanted to add something to them, and usually I would grab a handful of fresh mint, but today I wanted something a bit more flavorful. The local peaches are beginning to be just gorgeous ....ripe and juicy, dripping down your chin pleasurable!  I diced one up and threw it into the pan  with the peas and let the soft heat work its magic. Within seconds the peas and peaches had formed a passionate relationship, the peas retaining their crispness, and the peaches melting like butter all around them. The whole process took about 5 minutes, and then I added just a sprinkling of cinnamon, fresh nutmeg and some allspice,  adding a bit of spiciness to the already sensual flavor.  They didn't need  butter although if you wanted  you could finish them with just a wee bit of it.  It was a really pretty dish as well, and would look lovely on a platter surrounded by some freshly sliced peaches for a garnish! I served it with a pasta last night, but today I'm going to try it with some slow cooked organic lamb shanks. That should be a marriage made in heaven!

Picture courtesy of www.williegreensorganicfarm.com   a site I discovered when looking for a picture. They have a wonderful recipe for peas with mango sauce, and a roasted pea recipe which sounds just amazing!


White Bean Salad with Rosemary and Pine Nuts!

Beans_3224206_big I love white beans, more formally known as cannellini beans! Thrown into vegetable soup, or simply made into a simple salad,  they are an easy way to get some delicious protein into your diet when you're trying to cut back on meat!

White bean salad is one of my favorite picnic foods, and it's so easy to make! I love it in the summertime when you have fresh vine ripened tomatoes and basil leaves! If you want to make it in the winter, organic diced canned tomatoes will do nicely!

This recipe is so simple, just throw throw the ingredients together and let the olive oil and galic do the work!

You'll need:

One or two cans of Progresso cannellini beans

Lots of chopped FRESH garlic

One large can of diced tomatoes/drained

One and a half cups of fresh basil leaves

juice of one fresh lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Pine nuts  and fresh rosemary for a garnish

Enough good virgin olive oil to use as a dressing for the whole thing!

This is beyond easy! Just throw all of the ingredients together into a pretty bowl and let them marinate until you are ready to serve them. Garnish with the pine nuts!

Unless you are making this the day before, you don't even have to refrigerate it, it's better at room temperature! For a few variations on a theme you can serve it over freshly cooked penne pasta with some fresh parmesan cheese, or add try adding torn "day old" french bread to the salad just before serving it over cold romaine leaves. You can also take the same salad (sans the bread!) and add a can of tuna  packed in olive oil (the expensive Italian kind is worth every penny!) , a sliced hard boiled egg and some green beans for a wonderful dinner salad.

  Picture courtesy of www.barillaus.com


White Bean Salad with Rosemary and Pine Nuts!

Beans_3224206_big I love white beans, more formally known as cannellini beans! Thrown into vegetable soup, or simply made into a simple salad,  they are an easy way to get some delicious protein into your diet when you're trying to cut back on meat!

White bean salad is one of my favorite picnic foods, and it's so easy to make! I love it in the summertime when you have fresh vine ripened tomatoes and basil leaves! If you want to make it in the winter, organic diced canned tomatoes will do nicely!

This recipe is so simple, just throw throw the ingredients together and let the olive oil and galic do the work!

You'll need:

One or two cans of Progresso cannellini beans

Lots of chopped FRESH garlic

One large can of diced tomatoes/drained

One and a half cups of fresh basil leaves

juice of one fresh lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Pine nuts  and fresh rosemary for a garnish

Enough good virgin olive oil to use as a dressing for the whole thing!

This is beyond easy! Just throw all of the ingredients together into a pretty bowl and let them marinate until you are ready to serve them. Garnish with the pine nuts!

Unless you are making this the day before, you don't even have to refrigerate it, it's better at room temperature! For a few variations on a theme you can serve it over freshly cooked penne pasta with some fresh parmesan cheese, or add try adding torn "day old" french bread to the salad just before serving it over cold romaine leaves. You can also take the same salad (sans the bread!) and add a can of tuna  packed in olive oil (the expensive Italian kind is worth every penny!) , a sliced hard boiled egg and some green beans for a wonderful dinner salad.

  Picture courtesy of www.barillaus.com


Eggplant with cumin and pistachios!

I was cruising through the market the other day, and the most gorgeous pile of aubergines(eggplants) caught my eye! They are so beautiful , possessing luxurious shiny skins of the deepest violet, and when you slice them, you're rewarded with a flash of green and a flesh that's creamy and subtle. I bought one(after having a marvelous time fondling several of them !) and took it home thinking that I would make a simple baba ghanoush, that traditional eggplant dip from the middle east.

Well, one thing led to another, and I got a little creative. The first and most important thing about eggplant is that it really needs to be prepared well before you can even consider turning it into anything edible. The eggplant is part of the nightshade family, the same as "Deadly nightshade". This means that it has certain compounds in its skin and flesh that aren't so good for you, and most cooks don't take the time to leech them out of the eggplant. It's also one of the reasons why lots of people have adverse responses when they eat it, such as a burning mouth, and a bitter sensation resulting in a general feeling of unwellness. Preparing the eggplant is a simple process, and I promise that if you take the time you will be rewarded with a luscious end result!

The first thing that I do, is I slice and rinse the eggplant and then lay it into a covered casserole or a non reactive bowl. Then I pour kosher salt, or sea salt all over it and add water to cover. I let it sit for about and hour, and change the water and do it again. I repeat this process about 3 and sometimes four times. Then, I rinse the eggplant slices. They're ready for breading or roasting, whatever you want to do with it.

What I did today was take the eggplant slices and lay them on a roasting pan that I sprayed with  an organic non stick olive oil spray. I coated them after that with garlic infused olive oil. Stick them in a 350 degree oven and roast until soft and golden on each side , but very pulpy inside!

What you'll need for this ambrosial dip is,

One cup of roasted pistachios

4 cloves of raw garlic

1/2 cup of chopped onion

1 tablespoon of cumin seed

1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of walnut oil

Take the roasted eggplant and put it into the bowl of your cuisinart, along with the rest of the ingredients. I'd start with half the walnut oil and then add more depending on the consistency.  Now let the cuisinart perform it's magic! What you'll have in a few minutes is sensuous feast, that you can use to entice your lover with, a marvelous dip for shrimp and spears of endive, as well as fingers! All of this spice needs a soft red wine to compliment it, and perhaps a few ripe figs and a little goat cheese drizzled with honey.

Enjoy!  If you'd like to serve this as a prelude to an entree, why don't you also try my recipe for chicken roasted with artichokes and garlic (midwinter recipes)!


Eggplant with cumin and pistachios!

I was cruising through the market the other day, and the most gorgeous pile of aubergines(eggplants) caught my eye! They are so beautiful , possessing luxurious shiny skins of the deepest violet, and when you slice them, you're rewarded with a flash of green and a flesh that's creamy and subtle. I bought one(after having a marvelous time fondling several of them !) and took it home thinking that I would make a simple baba ghanoush, that traditional eggplant dip from the middle east.

Well, one thing led to another, and I got a little creative. The first and most important thing about eggplant is that it really needs to be prepared well before you can even consider turning it into anything edible. The eggplant is part of the nightshade family, the same as "Deadly nightshade". This means that it has certain compounds in its skin and flesh that aren't so good for you, and most cooks don't take the time to leech them out of the eggplant. It's also one of the reasons why lots of people have adverse responses when they eat it, such as a burning mouth, and a bitter sensation resulting in a general feeling of unwellness. Preparing the eggplant is a simple process, and I promise that if you take the time you will be rewarded with a luscious end result!

The first thing that I do, is I slice and rinse the eggplant and then lay it into a covered casserole or a non reactive bowl. Then I pour kosher salt, or sea salt all over it and add water to cover. I let it sit for about and hour, and change the water and do it again. I repeat this process about 3 and sometimes four times. Then, I rinse the eggplant slices. They're ready for breading or roasting, whatever you want to do with it.

What I did today was take the eggplant slices and lay them on a roasting pan that I sprayed with  an organic non stick olive oil spray. I coated them after that with garlic infused olive oil. Stick them in a 350 degree oven and roast until soft and golden on each side , but very pulpy inside!

What you'll need for this ambrosial dip is,

One cup of roasted pistachios

4 cloves of raw garlic

1/2 cup of chopped onion

1 tablespoon of cumin seed

1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of walnut oil

Take the roasted eggplant and put it into the bowl of your cuisinart, along with the rest of the ingredients. I'd start with half the walnut oil and then add more depending on the consistency.  Now let the cuisinart perform it's magic! What you'll have in a few minutes is sensuous feast, that you can use to entice your lover with, a marvelous dip for shrimp and spears of endive, as well as fingers! All of this spice needs a soft red wine to compliment it, and perhaps a few ripe figs and a little goat cheese drizzled with honey.

Enjoy!  If you'd like to serve this as a prelude to an entree, why don't you also try my recipe for chicken roasted with artichokes and garlic (midwinter recipes)!


Bachelors Fruit!

2003_0419fruit0010

This is one of those recipes that could just as easily fall under the "Love Potion's" category, but I think that it belongs here! It's called "bachelors fruit" , although I've never been sure why! Perhaps, on a chilly winters eve, it was enough company along with a good fire and a snoring dog! I love to make it for Christmas, as it's really very pretty! I usually start in the summer as the seasonal fruit is ripening and add layers as I go. By December it's jewel like and very potent!

Take a large glass jar (about 3 gallons!) and wash it well. Then you can begin to play with whatever fruit you find in season. Raspberries, Grapes, peaches, nectarines.....everything finds it's way into the jar! (except for melons which get a bit weird!) Cover each layer with really good vodka  or brandy, whatever you like. Add some sugar to each layer as well! For fun I add some spice, and actually  pre-packaged mulling spices work well for this purpose. Have fun and keep adding, and oh this works best if the peaches, pears and fruits with thick skins are peeled.

By Christmastime it's usually ready and you can strain it and use the alcohol for  a fancy drink, or you can serve the delicious fruit as a compote with some amazing vanilla bean ice cream!

Oh and if you add cranberries, it will turn a beautiful shade of holiday red!


Bachelors Fruit!

2003_0419fruit0010

This is one of those recipes that could just as easily fall under the "Love Potion's" category, but I think that it belongs here! It's called "bachelors fruit" , although I've never been sure why! Perhaps, on a chilly winters eve, it was enough company along with a good fire and a snoring dog! I love to make it for Christmas, as it's really very pretty! I usually start in the summer as the seasonal fruit is ripening and add layers as I go. By December it's jewel like and very potent!

Take a large glass jar (about 3 gallons!) and wash it well. Then you can begin to play with whatever fruit you find in season. Raspberries, Grapes, peaches, nectarines.....everything finds it's way into the jar! (except for melons which get a bit weird!) Cover each layer with really good vodka  or brandy, whatever you like. Add some sugar to each layer as well! For fun I add some spice, and actually  pre-packaged mulling spices work well for this purpose. Have fun and keep adding, and oh this works best if the peaches, pears and fruits with thick skins are peeled.

By Christmastime it's usually ready and you can strain it and use the alcohol for  a fancy drink, or you can serve the delicious fruit as a compote with some amazing vanilla bean ice cream!

Oh and if you add cranberries, it will turn a beautiful shade of holiday red!


Savory Pork Tenderloin with Fruit!

bbq_apricot-ginger_pork_tenderloin_recipeSometimes, there's nothing like a flavorful roasted pork tenderloin. Lately, the air has had a slight nip to it, a smell that says that the harvest is near and autumn will soon arrive. In my home,such a day calls for a roasted piece of meat laced with herbs and fruit. Here is my recipe for a lovely roasted pork tenderloin that is a delicious centerpiece to a midsummer's meal.
Take a pork tenderloin and rub it with a paste of garlic oil,chili sauce and italian seasoning (heavy on the rosemary and sage please!)and let it marinate for several hours. Layer a baking dish with slices of cappicola ham (either sweet or spicy will do depending upon your taste!) and lay the pork tenderloin on top of it.
Slice about 5 young potatoes into 1/2 inch slices and place in the pan. You'll also need a jar of peaches in light syrup, (the spiced ones are especially good and please reserve the syrup!) to layer inbetween the potatoes. Take a good sized red onion, and slice it thinly , and sprinkle it all over the pork, potatoes and peaches. Slice a good bunch of green onions into about 2 inch pieces and sprinkle on top of the whole casserole!
In a bowl place a cup of barbecue sauce, 6 cloves of crushed fresh garlic, about 1/3 cup of chopped crystallized ginger and about 1/4 of a cup of teriyaki sauce. Stir into this mixture the reserved peach syrup and pour it all over the meat and vegetables. Roast for about 25 minutes per pound in a 350 degree oven, basting frequently. The meat will caramelize on the outside and is delicious . Arrange the slices of pork on a pretty platter with the onions, potatoes and peaches as a side garnish. A drizzle of excellent quality white truffle oil (La Truffiere is a wonderful brand) and a drop of the apple glaze from Williams Sonoma will throw this right over the top! I serve this often with pumpkin soup, and a salad of roasted beets , arugula, creme fraiche and a bit of caviar. Another wonderful accompaniment would be a small plate of gnocchi with garlic and spinach. I have a beautiful platter that I love to use with this dish that comes from a small Italian comapny called Vietri. It is a lovely handthrown piece in a pattern named Cucina Fresca and the color is "Crema". Its hue is the shade of thick cream poured over a terra cotta base. For some real inspiration and just plain fun, visit their website at www.vietri.com There you will find not just my gorgeous platter, but a million wonderful pieces from Italy, guaranteed to make you want to bring them home and use them tonight!
This pork tenderloin will also make a wonderful Autumn hors d'eourve if you're in the habit of makeing your own potato chips! Making the chips is really easy. Bring some fresh peanut oil up to frying temperature (you'll know it!) and slowly add potatoes that you have sliced very thinly and patted dry. Watch them and take them out of the oil when they are a little more than golden and drain them on a paper towel. That's all! Just take a fresh chip and put a shred of the pork loin on top of it with a dollop of the caramelized onions and peaches. A fresh sage leaf and a bit of crystalized ginger completes the treat!