Monday, July 30, 2012

beet, blue cheese, and almond salad

Feeling a little adventurous? Try this beet salad. It adds gorgeous color to your menu.

serves 6
7 medium beets (21/2 lbs)
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
8 oz. blue cheese
1/4 cup sliced or chopped almonds
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1. Trim and peel the beets. Cut 6 in bite-size pieces. Place in a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water. Cover and steam 20-25 minutes until tender.
2. Coarsely grate the remaining beet; place in a large bowl. For a dressing mash garlic with a pinch of salt to a paste (it helps to mince then scrape the flat side of a knife over it in both directions); add to grated beet along with the oil, lemon juice, 1 tsp. salt, and the pepper. 
3. When the beets are cooked, toss them with the dressing. Cool to room temperature or chill in refrigerator.
4. Crumble blue cheese over the salad and sprinkle with almonds and parsley.

Monday, July 23, 2012

lemony chicken pan roast with zucchini and feta

This was delicious (and I am not just saying that). I found this recipe while paging through my Food and Wine magazine and it looked good so onto the meal plan it went. It tasted even better than I thought it would. All the flavors worked so well together. What could be better than a simple recipe and only handful of fresh ingredients?
And, if you don't care for olives don't pass up this recipe, just omit the olives (although I really think you should rethink your distaste :)

makes 4-6 servings
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 chicken thighs or 4 large chicken breasts (can be bone in or boneless)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2-2 lbs small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
1 large lemon, cut into eights (or a couple small, quartered)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp chopped oregano
1/4 lb feta cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (I used half plain and half greek herb)

1. Preheat the oven to 450. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the skillet, and cook over high heat, turning once, until golden and crisp, about 5-6 minutes.
2. Transfer the chicken to a large roasting pan. Add the zucchini, lemon and olives to the skillet and cook over high heat until zucchini and lemon are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and oregano and season with salt and pepper.
3. Transfer the contents of the skillet to the roasting pan and arrange around the chicken. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife.
4. Preheat the broiler. Scatter the feta on top of the chicken and zucchini and broil for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned and beginning to melt. Serve with crusty bread. Yum!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

grilled zucchini and peaches with macadamia cream

This dish is equally good served warm or cold. A perfect summer side dish or light dinner on its own

makes 4-6 servings
3 zucchini (1 1/2 pounds total. I used green and gray), sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
3 peaches or nectarines, halved
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 Tbsp finely chopped mint
2 Tbsp macadamia nuts toasted (I did them in a 300°F oven for about 7 minutes) and coarsely chopped
*macadamia cream (recipe follows, start this the night before.)

1. Light a grill. Brush zucchini and peaches with half the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Cut the peaches in wedges. Stack zucchini and slice lengthwise into thin ribbons.
2. In a bowl, toss the zucchini with the parsley, mint, and remaining 1/8 cup oil. Transfer to a platter and top with peaches and chopped nuts. Add drizzle (or dollops) of macadamia cream and serve.

*macadamia cream
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1 cup water
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (if you don't have any like me, substitute 1 Tbsp corn starch and see alternate instructions, step 3b)

1. In a bowl, cover the nuts with water. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight.
2. Pour the nuts and water into a blender and puree. Strain the nut milk through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much milk as possible.
3. Rinse out blender and return strained milk to it. Add the lime juice and agave nectar.
a. With the machine still on, add the xanthan gum and blend until the cream is light and airy, about 1 minute.
b.  If you are using cornstarch, mix 1 Tbsp cornstarch with 1 Tbsp of the milk. Heat remaining milk in pan and whisk in the cornstarch mix. simmer until thickened. Cool in refrigerator. This makes the cream into more of a pudding consistency, but is still tastes great.