Thursday, June 30, 2011

Watermelon Salad

an easy and refreshing side dish
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 cups watermelon juice*
1 1/2 cups white grape juice
1 tsp. shredded lemon or orange peel
1 1/2 cups assorted chopped fruit (I used peeled peaches and nectarines and green grapes)
optional topping: 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese and mint leaves (I know it sounds weird, but the recipe I found called for it and so I listened. It tastes quite good)

1. In a medium saucepan sprinkle gelatin over watermelon juice. Let stand 5 minutes. Then cook over medium until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in grape juice and citrus peel.
2. transfer half the mixture to an 8x8 baking dish. Add fruit. Cover and refrigerate about 1 1/2 hours or until it is set. (keep remaining watermelon juice at room temperature).
3. Spoon remaining juice mixture on top. Cover and refrigerate for and additional 1 1/2 hours or more.
4. Top with feta and mint (at least try the mint if you can :) before serving.

serves 9
* to juice watermelon, puree chunks in the blender and strain to remove pulp. It took about 1/3 of a melon to make 2 cups.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Grilled Portobello Melt

I'm so happy that the Summer weather has come (kind of) and have been utilizing the grill as much as possible!

4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
1 large red bell pepper, cut into quarters
1 large red onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
4-8 slices cheese (I was hoping to try pepper jack but only had monterey jack so I added some herbs and crushed red pepper flakes)

for sauce combine:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. honey

1. Brush onions, peppers, and tops of mushrooms with olive oil and place onions and peppers on hot grill.
2. When they are browned with good grill marks on one side turn over. Add mushrooms, cap side up and pour sauce on top.
3. When liquid boils top mushrooms with onions and peppers and cheese slices (and herbs and spices if desired).
4. When cheese is melted, remove mushrooms from the grill and serve.

makes 4 main dish servings

Friday, June 17, 2011

Grilled Peaches With Honey Nut Cream

So easy to make and so delicious!
3 peaches, halved and pitted (make sure they are nice and ripe)
1 Tbsp oil
sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling
4 oz cream cheese
1 Tbsp honey (plus extra for drizzling)
2-3 Tbsp chopped pecans

1. Preheat the grill for medium heat.
2. Brush peaches with a light coating of oil. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
3. Mix cream cheese with honey and nuts.
4 Grill peaches cut side down for about 5 minutes or until they have nice grill marks. Turn over and place a dollop of the cream cheese where the pit was. Grill for another 2 minutes. Drizzle with honey and serve immediately.

makes 6 small servings

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mango and Berry Tarts

These were so good and were actually pretty easy to make. The dough can be made a couple days ahead of time which I did, though unintentionally. Due to a busy week (my husband's baby brother just got married!), I didn't get around to putting the tarts together until Sunday, which was just as well because we had family over :)
These are very versatile; you can do all tropical fruits or just berries or a combination.

For the pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 and 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces 
1/4-1/2 cup ice water

Filling (suggestion):
1/2-1 mango, thinly sliced
1 small banana, sliced
8 medium strawberries, chopped
24 (or thereabouts) blueberries
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
sugar, for sprinkling

whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving.

1. Make the pastry. In a food processor or blender, pulse the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Sprinkle the ice water over the mixture and pulse until the pastry starts to come together. Transfer to a work surface and knead gently a few times until thoroughly blended. Divide pastry in half and flatten into disks, Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about an hour.  (if you chill it like I did for almost 3 days, you will need to let it sit at room temp for at least a half hour or soften in the microwave for a few seconds).
2. Preheat the oven to 400. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the disks 1/8 inch thick. Using a 5-inch plate (I found a plastic lid about the right size) as a guide, cut out 3 rounds and transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with rest of the pastry. Refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes.
3. Make the filling. Arrange the mango, banana, strawberries and blueberries (or whatever fruit you have chosen) on top. Bring the pastry edges up and around the fruit, pinching firmly to firm a pleated rim on each tart. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35 minutes, until pastry is golden brown and fruit is bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipping cream or ice cream.

makes 6 servings