Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chicken Salad with Dried Cherries and Blue Cheese Crumbles

My husband was in a Woody Allen type of mood the other day.

He went into a long winded rant on how he wasn't getting enough servings of vegetables and fruit in his diet.  Who knows where that came from since I can intimately describe the look of disgust every time I put anything green on his plate (i.e. spinach, broccoli, etc...) So I took the "hint" and decided to plan for some salads for dinners.

First I went through the dried fruit and nut aisle at Whole Foods and pulled pecans, roasted pumpkin seeds and dried fruit. Then I got blue cheese crumbles, provolone and aged gouda for some different cheese options.  

So the salad idea in my head was a salad with dried cherries, pumpkin seeds, blue cheese and chicken. I guess it would have been much healthier if I had grilled the chicken but my grill died a while ago. So I pounded it out to about 1/2 inch and then breaded in with some Italian Bread Crumbs and fried it in some olive oil. The great part was that we shared one chicken breast so it wasn't that horrible.

I topped it off by making a red wine and mustard vinaigrette in a mason jar and just shaking it up to finish it off. I really did forget how fun it was to make different salads. And now my husband can concentrate on making better lunch choices.

2 bags mixed salad 
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1 chicken breast - pounded out to about 1/2 inch 
1/2 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
1 egg
2 tsp olive oil

Take the chicken breast and dredge it in the beaten egg and then into the bread crumbs. Repeat. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken breast and cook about 4 minutes on each side until cooked through.  Meanwhile divide the salad, pumpkin seeds, blue cheese crumbles, and cherries. Slice the chicken and add it on top.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp sugar
salt and peper to taste

Add all ingredients into a mason jar. Place the cover on top and tighten. Shake it up until emulsified and add to your salad.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ricotta Pesto filled Omelets

 There's nothing like a comforting breakfast after being away on business. 

Right now having a cup of coffee in my own house sounds like domestic bliss. So as I sit longer in my pajamas than is probably acceptable I do muster up enough energy to make an easy omelet with a delicious filling. There is something about pesto that just screams summer to me - even though I feel it's passing me by.

Making an omelet is necessary in your repertoire. You can take the same technique and add different fillings each time to make a completely different breakfast. 
Did I say it was also fairy easy? Good thing since I fully plan to get back to my position on the couch. Have a great weekend!

Omelets with Ricotta Pesto Filling
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and ground white pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup whole milk Ricotta
  • 3 tbsp pesto
  • Crack the eggs into a glass mixing bowl and beat them until they turn a pale yellow color. (you're trying to beat as much air as possible into the eggs).
  • Heat a heavy-bottomed nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil.
  • Season the eggs to taste with salt and white pepper. 
  • In a separate bowl mix together the pesto and ricotta cheese and season with a little salt to taste.
  • When the oil in the pan is hot enough to make a drop of water hiss, pour in the eggs. Let the eggs cook for up to a minute or until the bottom starts to set.
  • With a spatula, gently push one edge of the egg into the center of the pan, while tilting the pan to allow the still liquid egg to flow in underneath. Repeat with the other edges, until there's no liquid left.
  • Your eggs should now resemble a pancake, which should easily slide around the surface of the pan. If it sticks at all, loosen it with your spatula.
  • Now gently flip the egg pancake over, using your spatula to ease it over if necessary. Cook for another few seconds, or until there is no uncooked egg left. 
  • Add the ricotta pesto filling across the center of the egg in straight line.
  • Lift half of the omelet and fold it across and over, so that the edges line up. Cook for another minute or so.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stone Fruit Pie

There is so much amazing fruit in the summer it's hard to choose.  

Last year I discovered my new love of plums which I avoided in my childhood and since my days in the south I have developed an intense love of peach pie. So while I perused the fruit section of whole foods I came across a great selection of peaches, nectarines and plums. 

Too difficult to choose.

So I resolved myself to come up with a pie recipe that used all three and came up with Stone Fruit Pie.
This comforting dessert that has a delicious fruit filling could only be made better by a thick buttery crust - so of course I used my go to pie crust recipe -  Martha Stewart's Pate Brisee recipe.

The only problem I now have is what to do with the rest of the fruit I purchased... Decisions, Decisions....

Stone Fruit Pie
5 Plums Sliced
5 Peaches Sliced
5 Nectarines sliced
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 large egg beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Follow the directions to the Pate Brisee recipe and chill thoroughly. Roll 1/2 of pie dough out into 10 inch Pie Plate. In a separate bowl combine the fruit, sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch and mix until combined and cornstarch is incorporated. Pour into the pie shell. Roll out the other half of the pie crust and put it on top. (I used a cookie cutter to decoratively cut out a hole in the center) Beat the egg and use a pastry brush to apply to the top of the pie. Put in oven for 40 minutes. Increase to 400 degrees and let bake for about 10 to 15 minutes more. (filling should be bubbling)
 Take out and let cool to room temperature. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th Breakfast Sundae

It's so nice to have a holiday that allows me the luxury of spending time in the kitchen. I have lists of ideas that have been waiting to be tried and tested. There was but one that was perfect for the holiday. So in between my re-watching of John Adams on Independence Day I wandered into my kitchen to dust the cobwebs off my love of cooking.
There is something incredibly decadent about a sundae for breakfast but it doesn't have to be. I've many times had yogurt and fruit as an appetizer for breakfast. So why not have frozen yogurt? The best part is you can find vanilla Greek yogurt in the grocery that's ready to add to your ice cream maker - as is.  Then all you have to do is follow the directions to freeze on your ice cream maker. 

After that it comes to decorating your sundae with the fruit of our choice. Mine included raspberries and blueberries perfect for the holiday.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday honoring this wonderful nation.  At least it got off to a great start.

Blueberry Buttermilk Waffles
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon (scant) salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided

Whisk flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl to blend. Whisk in buttermilk, then 6 tablespoons melted butter and add the blueberries. Heat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions. Brush waffle iron grids lightly on both sides with some of remaining melted butter. Pour 1/2 cup (or more) waffle batter (depending on size of waffle iron grid) over each grid. Close waffle iron and cook until waffles are crisp and golden on both sides. Transfer waffles to rack set over baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Repeat cooking with remaining batter, brushing waffle iron with melted butter between batches as needed.

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