Friday, January 27, 2017

TUSCAN PANZANELLA SALAD

Panzanella roughly translates to bread (pane) small basket (zanella). This salad is especially wonderful when tomatoes are in season. If you want the salad to be a complete meal, add a can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans to the salad for protein.



Croutons
2 cups roughly chopped Italian bread

Place bread croutons on a baking sheet and place in a 350 degree F oven. 
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Remove and set aside.

Salad
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
½ red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
¼ cup drained capers
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
1 T chopped oregano leaves
1 T chopped basil leaves

In a large salad bowl, add the above salad ingredients and the bread croutons. 
Toss to combine.

Vinaigrette
1 clove garlic, minced
½ t Dijon mustard
¼ cup white wine or champagne vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a canning jar, add the above vinaigrette ingredients, screw on the top, and shake vigorously.

Pour as much as you want over the salad and gently toss to combine. You will have enough salad dressing for another salad.

Serves 4

Thursday, January 26, 2017

GORGONZOLA, ROSEMARY, & WALNUT CRACKERS

These are delicious crackers to serve with fruit. You can freeze the tightly wrapped log before baking. Remove from the freezer a couple of hours before baking.


½ cup walnut pieces
8 T unsalted butter softened
8 oz Gorgonzola cheese, softened
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 t sea salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
2 t minced fresh rosemary

1 egg beaten with 1 T water

Pour walnuts in a dry skillet and toast until lightly golden brown.
Place toasted walnuts in a food processor and process until finely chopped, but don't make walnut butter out of it.
Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cheese together until smooth. 
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, salt, pepper, and rosemary. 
Mix for 1 minute.  
Alternatively, you can do this in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. 

Turn dough out onto a piece of wax paper. 
Roll into a 10-inch long log. 
Brush the log with the egg wash.
Spread the walnuts out and roll the log in the walnuts, pressing lightly. 

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least for 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the log into thin slices and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 20 to 22 minutes, until lightly brown.  

Cool and serve at room temperature with grapes and figs.

Makes about 12 to 15 crackers





TERESA LAPETINA GRECO - 'Big Mamma'


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

CHICKEN SCALLOPINI WITH MUSHROOMS

Chicken breasts and mushrooms in a wine sauce over spaghetti and...it's dinner in 30 minutes.




8 oz spaghetti
2 boneless chicken breasts, cut in half, lengthwise
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil, divided
3 T unsalted butter, divided
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup white wine or dry white vermouth
½ cup chicken stock
Juice of ½ lemon
2 t capers, drained
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T chopped parsley, for garnish

Place chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap on a plastic cutting board and gently pound with a mallet or rolling pin to an even thickness.
Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
Place flour in a shallow bowl and dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
Place dredged chicken back on the cutting board.

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add half of the olive oil and butter.
Brown chicken on both sides for about 4 minutes on each side.
Place chicken on a baking sheet and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven.

In the same skillet, over medium-high heat, add the rest of the olive oil and sauté the mushrooms until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the wine, chicken stock, and lemon juice and cook another couple of minutes.
Add the capers, the rest of the butter, and the Parmigiano cheese.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, boil spaghetti in salted water for 7 to 8 minutes.

Add drained spaghetti to 2 warm plates.
Top with chicken cutlets and spoon on the sauce and mushrooms.
Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.

Serves 2



Sunday, January 15, 2017

PAN SEARED SCALLOPS WITH PANCETTA & VERMOUTH

If you've ever been to Digby, Nova Scotia, you probably have eaten those wonderful large scallops. They are harvested from the Bay of Fundy, which has the highest and lowest tides in the world. These scallops are so sweet and tender. If you can't find them, buy East Coast sea scallops.
I served them over risotto, but polenta or mashed potatoes would be equally delicious.




Low tide at the Bay of Fundy

2 oz pancetta, diced
10 Digby or East Coast sea scallops
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T unsalted butter
1 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
1 shallot, finely diced
½ cup dry Italian vermouth
Juice of ½ lemon
2 T unsalted butter

Fry pancetta in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer to a plate and discard the grease.

Rinse scallops under cold water and place on a double layer of paper towels.
Pat completely dry.
Season scallops with salt and pepper on both sides.

In the same large skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat.
Add the scallops in a single layer, not touching each other.
Brown on one side for about 2 minutes.
Do move scallops until they are brown, you can peek under one to see.

Turn scallops over with tongs and brown on the other side for another 2 minutes.

Remove scallops to a plate and set aside.

Lower heat in skillet to medium-low and sauté the shallot for 2 minutes.
Add the vermouth and lemon juice.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook for a minute or two, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Add the two tablespoons of butter, then return the scallops to the pan and cook another few seconds to warm the scallops. Do not overcook the scallops.

Spoon sauce over scallops and top with diced pancetta.

Serves 2




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH WALNUTS

When I was a child I didn't particularly like Brussels sprouts. Roasting them and adding walnuts or pine nuts, and Parmigiano cheese makes them so delicious. Brussels sprouts are one of the cruciferous disease fighting vegetables. Collards, broccoli, kale, and cabbage are also among cruciferous vegetables. They have powerful immune-boosting effects...so serve more of these vegetables with your meals!


½ cup chopped walnuts or pine nuts
2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 shallots, chopped
2 T extra-light olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Zest and juice of one lemon
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place nuts on a baking sheet and toast in oven for about 4 to 5 minutes.
Do not let them burn.
In a large bowl, combine sprouts, garlic, shallots, and olive oil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove nuts from oven and place in a small bowl.

Spoon the sprouts mixture onto the same baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting time.

Remove from oven, add nuts, lemon zest, juice, and cheese.

Drizzle with a little more olive oil.
Spoon into a warm serving bowl and sprinkle with a little more cheese.

Serves 6 to 8