Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Easy And Delicious Weeknight Shrimp

One of my very favorite and super fast weeknight dinners is Grilled Shrimp with Feta, Cilantro and Lime as adapted from Bon Appetit.  I guarantee that you will love this quick dish!  I marinated a pound of peeled and deveined shrimp in 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup of lime juice, 3 cloves of crushed garlic and 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro.   I sliced one red onion, spooned a little of the marinade from the shrimp overtop and sauteed until softened.  I removed the onions and coarsely chopped them.  Next,  I added the shrimp to the hot pan used for the onions and cook until just done, reserving the marinade.  I combined the shrimp with the red onions, cooked orzo, a chopped tomato (I used an orange heirloom), a nice hunk of imported Greek feta (crumbled).  I brought the remaining marinade to a quick boil, removed the garlic, and poured it over the shrimp, gave it a toss, and added some extra chopped cilantro.  Oh my was this good!  This was on the table in less than 30 minutes.  The original recipe calls for grilling, more olive oil, and no tomato - it was raining so no grill for me!  I could go for this again tonight - yes it was that good!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Watermelon, Feta And Black Olive Salad - Farewell to Summer

I am going to miss summer's bounty!  I have been enjoying tons of fresh, local produce and although it is officially fall, I don't want to say goodbye just yet.  This week we received watermelon in our CSA box and I finally made Nigella Lawson's Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad which I have vowed to make for quite a while. I was sure that I would love it since I am an olive and feta freak. Kalamata olives, imported Greek feta, watermelon and red onions from my CSA box and some fresh mint from the mint fairy at work combined with parsley, lime juice, olive oil and fresh black pepper - perfect combination! Some kind person leaves cups of fresh mint in the kitchen at my office - I am not sure who it is but I appreciate it!  WOW - this salad sure did not disappoint. It was just delicious - so refreshing and flavorful!

Happy fall everyone!  I am heading to CT to visit my baby.  I can't believe that I haven't seen her since August! 

Courtesy of Nigella Lawson

1 small Red Onion
2 - 4 Lime depending on the juiciness
1½ kg sweet, ripe Watermelon
250 g Feta cheese
fresh Flat-leaf parsley
fresh Mint chopped
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
100 g pitted Black Olives
Black pepper

Method:   Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, to bring out the transparent pinkness in the onions and diminish their rasp.

Two limes’ worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.

Remove the rind and pips from the watermelon, and cut into approximately 4cm triangular chunks, if that makes sense (maths is not my strong point).

Cut the feta into similar sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl.

Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.

Tip the now glowingly puce onions, along with their pink juices over the salad in the bowl, add the oil and olives, then using your hands toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don’t lose their shape.

Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Celebration Corn-Tomato Soup

Fall is right around the corner but I am still hanging on dearly to summer.  I saw this recipe in an email newsletter that I received from a NJ farm and just had to make it.  This soup is great for the transition from summer to fall foods.  It has lots of fresh summer ingredients (corn, tomatoes, peppers, and basil) which are lovely in a warming soup - perfect for the cool nights that we have had lately.  Delicious!

 Celebration Corn-Tomato Soup from the Griggstown Quail Farm and Market newsletter.  The recipe is courtesy of Amy Cotler, farm and food activist, and author of the The Locavore Way. 

I do love the warm days and cool nights at this time of year and the return of some favorites - Mallomars and Honeycrisp apples!  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eggplant Several Ways

I have been blessed with tons of eggplant in my CSA box- which fortunately I love.  I already have posted six different ways that I prepare eggplant and I really wanted to find new ways to enjoy an old favorite.  This is what I came up with:

Lilli's Eggplant Roll-ups courtesy of Ciao Chow Linda - wow was this good!  Thanks Linda!
Eggplant Caviar courtesy of Michael Symon.  What a healthy and delicious snack - I gobbled up the whole bowl!
Eggplant and Tomato Sandwich with Garlic-Thyme Mayo courtesy of Curtis Aikens  - Now that's a good sandwich! 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Eggs Fried in Olive Oil

The secret to any egg dish is good eggs!  We have been buying ours from a local farm in Howell, NJ (Squankum Brook Farm on Victory Rd.) and they are so good!  This is the same farm that I blogged about with the great "on your honor" cart.  Supermarket eggs cannot compare and with the latest salmonella scare - no thank you! 

Sometimes the simpler a meal, the more spectacular.  Take for example, fried eggs.  How could something so ordinary be worthy of posting about?  Well in this case it is all about the method and freshness of the eggs.  Add a 1/4 cup of good extra virgin olive oil to a pan and heat.  When the pan is nice and hot, add an egg.  Spoon the excess oil in the pan over top of the egg to cook the yolk.  Continue spooning the oil over top until the egg is cooked to your liking.  I like the white to be a little crispy and the yolk to just begin to set. Trust me this is so good!!

I served the eggs with a piece of toasted Italian bread rubbed with a garlic clove and drizzled with olive oil, a few Kalamata olives, and fresh tomatoes with feta.  The tomatoes were sliced and topped with feta, oregano and olive oil - heated in the microwave for a minute (idea found here).   Delicious! 

Note the bright orange yolks - perfect for dipping!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lousy Picture - Great Chicken!

Well, to be honest, this doesn't look that appetizing -but looks can be deceiving!  This quick dinner was inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe for Crispy and Sticky Chicken Thighs with Squashed New Potatoes and TomatoesI scaled down the amount of chicken to 4 pieces and didn't have cherry tomatoes or new potatoes so I used what I had on hand. The recipe also called for boneless chicken.   The recipe was very adaptable and the flavors were fantastic!  My husband loved it so much that I decided that I must post it regardless of the poor photo.  I loved the simple bright flavors of this dish.  Arugula tossed with olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper was the perfect complement to the chicken and vegetables. 

I only had medium sized red potatoes, so I quartered them and boiled until softened in salted water.  I also had bone in chicken thighs, which I seasoned with salt and pepper.  I browned the chicken in a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil while the potatoes were cooking.  I also took two medium sized tomatoes which I boiled for about a minute and peeled once they cooled.  The cooked potatoes, peeled tomatoes (squashed), and browned chicken were all combined on a baking sheet and drizzled with a good amount of extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and fresh thyme leaves.  The sheet pan went into a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.  "Set it and forget it," a la Ron Popeil.   Such simple flavors but truly delicious.  Lovely! 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Eats

Ahhhh... Labor Day Weekend, the signal that summer is winding down but rest assured I will be holding on to the season as long as possible.  In NJ, the weather is just gorgeous in September - warm days and cool nights.  Here at the Shore, the crowds subside, and the locals really get to enjoy what the area has to offer.  We still have lots of delicious fresh summer produce available and my beloved NJ tomatoes.  This weekend we enjoyed some good old classics and made use of the grill and the picture perfect weather for dining al fresco.

I can't believe that my daughters went to college just last weekend - it feels like at least a month has gone by.  I am still struggling to get used to how quiet the house is and I just plain miss them! On the bright side, I won't have to fill out all of those back to school forms or attend back to school night - I'm really trying to see the bright side here!   

Happy Labor Day! 

Cheddar and Horseradish Burgers (horesradish, worcestershire, salt, pepper) with caramelized red onions served on an English Muffin - unbelievably good!
Grilled Strip Steaks with caramelized onions, thyme, and balsamic vinegar - I don't eat steaks often but boy does a good steak taste delicious every so often! 
Fresh NJ Corn served with cayenne and lime - delicious and low calorie.
Homemade roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, NJ tomato and basil served with crusty Italian bread, good olive oil and good balsamic - I can make a meal of this alone! 
The classic 1970's shrimp cocktail but I roasted the shrimp instead of boiling and added a bit of sriracha to the cocktail sauce - fantastic!
Grilled Double Eggplant Pizza - I call this "double eggplant" because I added roasted eggplant to my marinara and then topped the pizza with white eggplant slices - delicious!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Quick Pickles

I had some fresh, local kirby cucumbers on hand and decided to try a "quick pickle" recipe.  I came across a Rachael Ray recipe that had great reviews and I had all of the ingredients - bonus!   These were easy as can be to make and were quite delicious.  I thought that there was a good balance between the sweet and sour.  The pickles had a nice crunch and were even better a day or two later. 

Quick Pickles

1/2 cup white vinegar
2 rounded teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove cracked garlic
2 tablespoons fresh dill leaves, chopped or snipped
1 bay leaf
4 kirby cucumbers, cut into 1-inch slices on an angle


Heat small saucepan over medium high heat. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, salt, and garlic to the pan and cook until it begins to simmer and sugar dissolves. Toss the dill, bay leaf, and sliced cucumbers together in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the simmering liquid over the cucumbers and stir to evenly coat. Allow to cool to room temperature or chill before serving.