Sunday, August 18, 2013

Blue Cheese Sauce

Great recipe for a summer evening when it's actually cool enough for a cocktail on the deck: a ribeye perfectly grilled to medium-rare and a big ol' Napa Cabernet.  But while I usually serve the steak au naturel, I wanted a special something more this time.

Thanks to this Stilton sauce recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, I had what I was looking for. Now I just have to figure out how to use the yummy leftovers...would love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

Blue Cheese Sauce
The recipe makes a generous 2 cups or so of sauce, so you might consider cutting it in half if you are just amkinf for a steak or two.

4 ounces Stilton cheese, crumbled 
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 
1/2 cup good mayonnaise 
1/2 cup sour cream 
1 tablespoon chopped scallions, white and green parts 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 

Place the Stilton in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and blend until finely minced. Add the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, scallions, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Process until smooth. Serve at room temperature.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Eggs Baked in Whole Tomatoes

This was a perfect breakfast this morning...made even better because I could enjoy it out on the deck on this unseasonably mild Dallas Saturday.  Here's the recipe for one, but you can multiply it as many times as you need to.

Eggs Baked in Whole Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 400˚.

Cut the top quarter off a tomato and use a spoon to remove most of the flesh and seeds.  (I leave a little bit...make the final creation deliciously saucy and soupy.) Place in a ramekin and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle a little thyme (fresh preferably) and minced garlic on top. Bake until soft and starting to caramelize, 25-30 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle a tablespoon or so of goat cheese or grated Gruyere into the tomato cavity. Crack an egg into the tomato and return to the oven. Continue to bake until egg is just set, another 6-8 minutes.

Let cool slightly before serving.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

When you get tired of eating the delicious cherry tomatoes that you've been buying at the grocery...or even better the farmers market...(although that sounds really insane doesn't it?), here's another way to use them.  It's especially good for those tomatoes just about to wrinkle up and spoil.

Serve warm or at room temperature over pasta, roasted fish or grilled chicken. Also delicious over grilled flank steak and salad greens.

Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette
Makes 1 1/2 cups.
From Bon Appetit magazine.

1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (or more) red wine vinegar
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Cut half of cherry tomatoes in half. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add halved and whole tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to release juices, 4–6 minutes. Mash some of tomatoes with a spoon.
Add 1 tablespoon vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or room temperature; add chives just before serving.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Pimiento Cheese-Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

Looking for an easy nibble for a summer picnic or party?  Head to the "olive bar" at your fancy grocery store and pick up some pickled Peppadew peppers (They are probably already hollowed out and ready to stuff.) and some pimiento cheese. (Or you can make your own pretty easily with this recipe.)

Spoon a little of the cheese into each pepper and arrange on a serving platter.  Sprinkle with a dusting of cayenne pepper for some added heat if you are so inclined. Perfect one-bite flavor explosions.

(You can always stuff hollowed-out cherry tomatoes if you'd rather...)

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Summer Squash and Corn Casserole

This is a great take on the classic squash casserole.  Adding corn makes it even more summery. Next time, I am going to add a few tomatoes also...

The original comes from Southern Living. I lightened it up a little bit since I am in the midst of a healthier eating plan. And made it a bit smaller to fit into a house with only two people in it.  Double it for your family summer feast. (P.S. You don't need added salt...plenty of it in the mayo and Parmesan cheese.)

Summer Squash and Corn Casserole
Makes 6-8 servings.

1 pound yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 pound zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups diced sweet onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fresh corn kernels
3/4 cup freshly shredded Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 cup soft, fresh breadcrumbs, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350°. Bring first 2 ingredients and water to cover to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and boil 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; gently press between paper towels.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; add onion, and sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 2 minutes.

Stir together squash, onion mixture, corn, next 5 ingredients, and 1/4 cup each breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese just until blended. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 7 x 11-inch baking dish.

Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Set aside.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top and bake and additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and set.

Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Cabbage and Collards

Southerners are used to greens.  Collards cooked with some kind of pork fat and stewed until they fall apart.  They can be a bit bitter though, so my other half always insists we throw some sugar in.  This recipe from Saveur magazine eliminates the need for sugar, adding naturally sweet cabbage instead.

But, yes, the bacon is still there.

Cabbage and Collards
Serves 8-10.
From Saveur magazine.

2 tablespoons canola oil
6 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1″ slices
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 pound collard greens, stalks removed and roughly chopped
1 large head cabbage (about 2 3/4 pounds), cored and roughly chopped
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crushed red chile flakes, to taste

Heat oil in a 6 quart saucepan over medium heat and add bacon; cook, stirring, until fat renders, about 6 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, then collards and cabbage; season with salt, pepper, and chile flakes. Cook, covered and stirring, until collards and cabbage are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking until liquid is reduced in volume, about 5 minutes.