30 September 2009

Honey Gorgonzola with Walnuts

Doug and I went over to my aunt and uncle's house for dinner a few days ago.  Aunt Bess threw together the most beautiful cheese tray in no time.  Apple slices, grapes, figs, wheat crackers, and gorgonzola drizzled with honey and sprinkled with walnuts.  Yum.  It was a perfect compliment to our glasses of Pinot Noir.  

Tip: Whole Foods will freshly cut a slice of gorgonzola cheese (or whatever cheese you like) for exactly the number of guests you anticipate.  They do a pretty good job at knowing how much to purchase!

Honey Gorgonzola with Walnuts
(Recipe from Aunt Bess)
Amounts vary per number of guests

1 wedge or block of Gorgonzola Cheese 
Chopped Walnuts
Wheat Crackers (for serving)
Apple(s), thinly sliced (for serving)
1 Bunch Red Grapes (for serving)
Fresh Figs, sliced lengthwise (for serving)

This cheese tray is easy to assemble.  Make sure that all of your fruit is washed and patted dry with a paper towel.  Place the cheese in the middle of the platter.  Place the crackers, apples, grapes, and figs around the cheese.  Drizzle the cheese with good honey and then sprinkle with the chopped walnuts.

28 September 2009

Beer Brats + Sauerkraut

Guten Tag! Welcome to Thyme for Wine: Oktoberfest Edition. I love my German heritage... primarily for the beer and sauerkraut! Okay, that just sounds weird. However, I do really enjoy this time of year because Oktoberfest gives us a reason to celebrate! I had a couple of my friends over for brats, sauerkraut, and beer this weekend; then we went to an Oktoberfest block party. It was so much fun! Prost!

We used Wohlner's homemade bratwurst links (beer brats and turkey brats).

Beer Brats & Sauerkraut

(Recipe from my Dad; pictured below)
Yield: 8 Servings

2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Pounds Fresh Bratwurst Links (about 8)
2 Yellow Onions, chopped (or 1 Large Onion)
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Can Beer
1 Tbsp. Paprika
1 Tbsp. Caraway Seeds
4 C. Sauerkraut, drained
2 Tbsp. Fresh Dill, chopped
8 Bratwurst Buns (or baguettes); we used Rotella's buns
German-style Mustard

I like to parboil the bratwurst links before browning them in a skillet. Then in a large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. Brown bratwurst in oil and reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic; cook until lightly caramelized. Add beer, paprika, caraway seeds, and sauerkraut; simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in fresh dill. Serve immediately on freshly made buns or warmed baguette buns. Spread German-style mustard on the bread before dishing up the brats and sauerkraut.

I may or may not be my father's daughter. You be the judge! :) Love ya, Dad!

26 September 2009

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Hot Mess.  This soup truly created a hot mess in my kitchen.  The problem started when I noticed the recipe called for the soup to be passed through a food mill.  I don't have that in my kitchen.  However, somebody commented on Ina Garten's soup recipe saying that they used a blender and it turned out just fine.  Ding, ding, we have a winner!  I have a blender!  I put the hot soup in the blender, put the lid on, and started blending... I didn't have my hand over the lid (like a complete idiot) and soup went flying all over the kitchen!  Hahah, I can laugh about it now because the soup turned out fantastic. 

This soup is sophisticated and delicious. It is sweet from the tomatoes and basil, and it is rustic and rich from the olive oil, onions, and garlic - all the flavors make a perfect combination!  I am looking forward to making this again in the near future... it would be fabulous to serve at a dinner party.

Suggestion: Serve it with a little sourdough crostini with melted gruyere (a spin on a normal grilled cheese sandwich).

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
Yield: 6-8 Servings

3 pounds Ripe Plum Tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground
2 C. Yellow Onions, chopped (2 onions)
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter (I used margarine)
1/2 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper)
1 (28-oz) Canned Plum Tomatoes, with their juice
4 C. Fresh Basil Leaves, roughly chopped
1 tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves
1 Quart Chicken Stock or Water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, toss together the tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.  Meanwhile, in an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with a splash of olive oil.  Add in the butter and red pepper flakes; saute for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown.  Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock (or water).  Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet.  Bring to a boil and then turn down your burner to a simmer; leave uncovered for about 40 minutes.  The original directions suggest passing the soup through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade.  If you don't have a food mill, use a blender and (CAREFULLY) pulse to break down chunks to your desired consistency.  Taste for seasonings.  Serve hot or cold.

24 September 2009

White Sangria

Soak up your last days of warmth by making this refreshingly sweet drink!  I hear it is going to start pouring rain in the midwest tomorrow, so even if it is raining, I'd probably still advise you to make this!  White Sangria brings me back to the days when I lived in Spain.  Although I equally enjoy red sangria, this is a nice change.  It is a wonderful drink you can make hours in advance of a gathering and your friends will just love it!

All of my friends have probably had this before because I make it every chance I can!  We can all thank my awesome Aunt Bess for passing along this recipe to me years ago.  YUMMY - thanks Bess!

White Sangria
(Recipe adapted from Aunt Bess)
Yield: 6 Glasses

1 Bottle White Wine (like Pinot Grigio, White Rioja, or Sauvignon Blanc) 
1/4 C. Peach Schnapps
1/4 C. Cointreau (or Grand Marnier)
2 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Small Peaches, sliced (mango works well too)
1 Orange, thinly sliced
1 Lemon, thinly sliced
Splash of Ginger Ale or Sparkling Water

Pour wine, schnapps, and Cointreau in a pitcher (I like to use a clear pitcher because the fruit makes it look so pretty).  Add thinly sliced peaches, lemon, and orange.  Next, add sugar and stir gently.  Chill mixture for at least one hour before serving.  Serve in wine glasses over ice.  Pour glasses 3/4 full of sangria, and then add a splash of ginger ale or sparkling water in each glass just before serving.

22 September 2009

Key Lime Pie

Becky's mom here...I am under pressure and have been requested to be a guest blogger.  Well, I can't think of a better recipe to share than my mom's FAMOUS Key Lime Pie.  If you do this recipe right, you will have people raving about it.  I have saved voice mails to prove it.  Seriously.  

Anyway, I would say that the most important areas include: using real key lime juice (but GOOD quality bottle juice from Key West can be an emergency substitute); and being PATIENT with adding the sugar in the meringue process.  Also, make sure to seal the edges of the meringue to the crust before putting it in the oven!  Cut it with a sharp knife to serve but dip it in water in between cuts to make the meringue stay intact.  Enjoy!

Key Lime Pie
(Grandma Jan's Recipe)
Yield: 1 Scrumptious Pie 

9'' baked Graham Cracker Crust (We used store bought, but feel free to make your own)

For the Filling: 
3 Egg Yolks
1 - 14 oz. can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 C. Key Lime Juice, freshly squeezed

For the Meringue:
3 Egg Whites (room temperature)
1/2 t. Vanilla
1/4 t. Cream of Tartar
5 - 6 Tbsp. Sugar 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Blend yolks, add milk, mix.  Mix in lime juice just until blended.  Pour into the crust.  Chill for a bit.  For the meringue topping, combine egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.  Add 5 to 6 Tbsp. Sugar, ONE AT A TIME waiting in between each addition (I cannot stress that enough), until stiff peaks form.  Gently put the meringue on the chilled filling, sealing the edges of the pie.  Swirl the meringue into soft peaks with a butter knife.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until meringue is slightly browned.  Cool in the refrigerator and serve.  

21 September 2009

Rich + Sassy Ribs

I call these my "Rich & Sassy Ribs" because that is my favorite type of barbecue sauce. For those of you who are not familiar with Famous Dave's BBQ sauces, I suggest that you buy a bottle and give it a shot the next time you make ribs (or porkchops, chicken, etc). This is my mom's famous rib recipe. Hope you enjoy it as much as our family!

Rich & Sassy Ribs
(Recipe courtesy of my mom)
Yield: 6 servings + leftovers!

6 Pounds of Pork Baby Back Ribs (3 slabs)
Dry Rub Seasoning*
1 Can of Beer
BBQ Sauce of your choice (I use Rich & Sassy)

Cut slabs of ribs into thirds (or keep them whole if you have a big enough pot). Put the ribs in a large pot of cold water with one can of beer (minus one sip for the cook)! Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer; cook for about 45 minutes. Skim off any fat that comes to the top of the pot. Yes, I know that many rib-aficionados do not care to boil ribs first, but we think that it helps tenderize the pork while reducing the fat content.

Place ribs on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan lined with foil. Pat the dry rib rub on both sides of ribs. Loosely tent it with another piece of foil. Put it in a low heat oven (about 225 degrees) for one hour. At any point you can put them in the fridge for later. Just before you are ready to serve the ribs, put them on the grill over low heat until warm. The last ten minutes of cooking, put on your favorite barbecue sauce.

*Dry Rub Seasoning can be purchased pre-made, or you can make your own. Usually, we just throw together whatever spices we have in the cabinet, but for the sake of the blog, we noted our measurements (below).

Dry Rub Seasoning

1 tsp. Chinese Five Spice
1/2 tsp. Chipotle Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Seasoned Pepper
1/2 C. Brown Sugar
1/8 tsp. Paprika
1/4 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until incorporated.

20 September 2009

Asian Grilled Salmon

Sometimes salmon can be the perfect, elegant touch for a dinner party. The best part is that it is so simple to throw together a marinade and the salmon literally takes minutes to cook! If you are cooking for a crowd or cooking for just a few, this recipe can be easily modified. Now the best part of this meal for me was that I got to enjoy it with my mom! We had a girls night - salmon, wine, and a movie!

Asian Grilled Salmon
Yield: 6 Servings

1 Side Fresh Salmon, bone but skin on (about 3 pounds)
2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
6 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Garlic, minced

Light the grill and get it to medium heat. In the meantime, make the marinade. Whisk together the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle half of the marinade onto the salmon and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Transfer the salmon, skin side down, and lay it on a piece of foil. Place the salmon with foil on the hot grill; Grill for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn carefully with a wide spatula and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes, discarding of the foil at this point (the skin should easily come off). Transfer the fish to a plate and spoon the reserved marinade on top. Allow the fish to rest for 10 minutes. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

19 September 2009

Electric Lemonade

This is one of Oprah's favorite summertime drinks. Art Smith, Oprah's personal chef, created this recipe. I suggest you give it a try it before the first snowfall. Mmmm it a nice summertime beverage!

Electric Lemonade
(Recipe created by Art Smith)
Yield: 8 Servings

2 C. Sugar
2 C. Water
1 C. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Large Sprig of Mint, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
8 oz. Lemon-Flavored Vodka (or regular)
Splash of Sparkling Water
1 Tbsp. Lemon Zest, freshly grated for garnish

Mix the sugar and water in a small pot and boil for 3 minutes to make a simple syrup. Let cool. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 C. syrup, the lemon juice and the chopped mint. Pour mixture into ice-cube trays and freeze for one hour (or more). In a blender, blend together frozen cubes, sparkling water, and vodka. Pour into chilled glasses. Garnish with mint sprigs and lemon zest.

Note: Leftover simple syrup can be refrigerated indefinitely.

18 September 2009

Cheesecake-Swirled Brownies

I remembered seeing this recipe in an old Gourmet Magazine a few years ago and then a new post on Smitten Kitchen really made me drool.... I mean, what is better than brownies and cheesecake all swirled into one fabulous dessert??  I took the basic recipe and then added Deb's suggested touch of sprinkling chocolate chips on the cheesecake layer.  Best. Suggestion. Ever.  As my Grandma A. might say: "There is no such thing as too much chocolate!"

I'm taking some cheesecake-swirled brownies home to Minnesota this weekend because I KNOW my Mom has a little soft spot for chocolate, and well... my dad has a soft-spot for all desserts!  :)

Cheesecake-Swirled Brownies
(Adapted from Gourmet, June 2007)
Yield: 16 Servings

Brownie Batter:
1 Stick Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes
3 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
1 C. Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
2/3 C. All-Purpose Flour
Pinch of Salt

Cheesecake Batter:
8 oz. Cream Cheese, well softened (no reduced-fat substitutes this time)
1/3 C. Sugar
1 Large Egg Yolk
1/4 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (this is a must!!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Make sure the oven rack is in the middle position.  Butter an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan.  Heat butter and chocolate in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk occasionally, just until melted.  Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined.  Whisk in flour until just combined and then spread into the greased baking pan.

In another bowl, whisk together cheesecake batter ingredients until smooth.  Use a spoon to dollop cheesecake batter over brownie batter, then swirl in with a butter knife.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over cheesecake and brownie layers.  Bake for 35 minutes, until edges are slightly puffed up and center is just set.  I suggest letting these cool to room temperature, covering the pan, and storing them in a fridge for at least an hour.  Having the brownies cooled (almost frozen) really makes it easier to cleanly slice them into pieces.

17 September 2009

Oranges + Coconut

Growing up, my mom made this as a an after-school snack for her two little girls. And do you want to know something else? I believe my grandma made this as an after-school snack for my mom! So this isn't anything ground-breaking here... it's simple and sweet. I love oranges and I love coconut. I'd suggest that you give this a try with your kiddos; it's really a fun change of pace from the everyday snacks these days. And to my readers who aren't mothers... well, you'll like this treat too!

Oranges & Coconut
(Recipe from Mom & Grandma A.)
Yield: 2 Servings

1 Orange
1/2 Tbsp. Coconut flakes

Thinly slice the orange (as seen in the picture). Place slices on a plate and lightly sprinkle the orange slices with coconut flakes. Enjoy!

16 September 2009

Food + Wine Magazine!

I just went down to my mailbox and received the cutest card from Doug's sister, Jenny! She gave me a subscription for Food & Wine Magazine! OUT OF THE BLUE! Wow, thanks Jenn! You're awesome!!

This is especially weird that I received a gift, when TODAY is actually HER birthday! What the heck is going on here??! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JENNY!!

14 September 2009

Cornbread-Stuffed Rosemary Chicken

Well, this is a bittersweet entry... Doug told me that he liked this chicken recipe even more than the Lemon-Ginger Chicken that is a STAPLE in my recipe repertoire. So I guess if you tried the lemon-ginger chicken already, I highly suggest that you try this recipe. Let me know which one YOU like better. I would love to know!

Cornbread-Stuffed Rosemary Chicken
Yield: 8 Servings

2 (6 oz.) packages Cornbread Stuffing Mix (I used Stove Top)
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
1/2 C. Pecans, finely chopped, toasted
8 Chicken Breasts, skinned and boned
1/4 C. Olive Oil, divided
1 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/4 C. Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 (8 oz.) package Fresh Mushrooms, sliced
4 Green Onions, sliced
1 (10.75 oz.) Can Reduced-Fat Cream of Chicken Soup
1 C. Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions and be sure to let it cool. Stir in egg and pecans. Next, butterfly chicken breasts by making a lengthwise cut in 1 side, cutting to (but not through) the opposite side; unfold. Spoon stuffing mixture evenly down center of one side of each butterflied chicken breast; fold opposite side over stuffing and place in a lightly greased baking dish. Stir together 3 Tbsp. olive oil and chopped rosemary; brush evenly over chicken. Sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Bake chicken, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 25 minutes until done.

Meanwhile, saute mushrooms and onions in remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat (about 5 minutes or until tender); stir in soup and chicken broth. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir often (5 more minutes or until thoroughly heated). Spoon mushroom mixture evenly over chicken; garnish with rosemary sprig, if desired.

13 September 2009

Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Salt

Basically, this is the only way I enjoy eating sweet potatoes. When they are served any other way, I sort of cringe! Perhaps it is because I haven't had them properly prepared... but I am normally reminded of baby food when someone mentions "sweet potatoes." Now if you have someone like that in your family, I urge you to try this recipe! I love it! The sweet potatoes have a crispy crunch and the basil salt just goes hand-in-hand with it.

Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Salt
Yield: 6 Servings

5 Sweet Potatoes, cut into 1'' x 5'' fries
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Bake until golden; about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the basil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. When sweet potatoes come out of the oven, sprinkle the fries with the basil salt.

Optional: I've served these with a simple Garlic Mayo Dip too. In another small bowl, combine 3/4 C. Miracle Whip, 1 clove minced garlic, and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Mix together and serve alongside the fries.

12 September 2009

Tortellini-Herb Salad

Tortellini-herb salad with a lovely tomato vinaigrette would be perfect for lunch or served as a side with dinner.  This salad is so easy to throw together - I can totally envision my sister making this for her friends.  In fact, I enjoyed this salad with a few of my girlfriends, Molly and Amy.  Pair this with a glass of white wine and laughter, and you've got yourself a wonderful evening!  Enjoy!

Yield: 6 Servings

20 oz. Package of Three Cheese Tortellini
1/2 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 C. Tomatoes, diced
3 Tbsp. Fresh Basil Leaves, chiffonade
1 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley, minced
1 Shallot, minced
3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
3 C. Arugula or other fresh mixed greens
Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
Parmesan Cheese (for garnish)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat (throw in a pinch of salt, if desired).  Cook the tortellini according to the package instructions.  After pasta is cooked, drain and toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil.  Let the pasta cool to room temperature.  Meanwhile, combine the diced tomatoes, herbs, shallots, lemon juice, and remaining olive oil in a medium mixing bowl.  Mix to combine and season with salt and pepper.  When the tortellini is cooled to room temperature, toss with the tomato vinaigrette.  To serve, place the tortellini salad in the center of a serving platter and put the arugula leaves on top.  I added freshly shaved parmesan cheese and sprinkled it over everything.

Tortellini-Herb Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

11 September 2009

Pork Tenderloin + Mango Crostini

I'm dedicating this recipe to my friend, Steve. I'm pretty sure that you'll like this recipe... seems like something your mom would make and bring downstairs while you are watching TV. Ughhh LUCKY! I miss those days of living in my parents' basement. Your brother, Doug, really enjoyed these appetizers. It's too bad that we couldn't have enjoyed these with you up at the lake! Next summer. It's a promise! Thanks for following my blog, Steveo :)

Pork Tenderloin & Mango Crostini (My Mom's Recipe)
Yield: 8 Servings

1 Loaf French Bread (Take 'n Bake is good)
1 Extra Lean Boneless Pork Tenderloin (pre-packaged in the meat dept.)
1 bottle Hot Mango Chutney

Cook the pork tenderloin as indicated on the package directions. After this is fully cooked, place in aluminum foil because you will want to warm the tenderloin in the oven right before serving. If you are using a loaf of bread such as Take 'n Bake, you will need to bake that according to the directions first. Then, use a serrated knife to cut it on a bias in 1/2-inch thick slices. Place on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and broil until golden brown, flip and repeat. Pull the crostini out of the oven to slightly cool. Put the foil-wrapped tenderloin back in the warm oven. Meanwhile, spread each crostini with the hot mango chutney. Take the tenderloin out of the oven, place it on a cutting board, cut into thin slices, and place on top of the crostini with chutney. Serve immediately.

Game Day Deviled Eggs

Get ready for the big football games this weekend by making these deviled eggs.  I know, I know... not something that would normally be on Thyme for Wine, but 'tis the season!  I apologize for the picture in advance.  I only snapped one pic of the eggs and used really bad lighting.  Hope you get the basic idea of what the eggs should look like... FOOTBALLS!  How cute!  Footballs = Cute?  I don't know.  I just make the food.  Goooooo Huskers!

Game Day Deviled Eggs
Yield: 6 Servings

6 Eggs, hard boiled* and peeled
1/4 C. Miracle Whip
1 1/2 tsp. Yellow Mustard
1 tsp. White Wine Vinegar
1/8 tsp. Hot Sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground
1/4 tsp. Paprika, plus more for garnish
Chives, for garnish

Slice the eggs in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the yolks and put them in a medium bowl.  Set aside the whites for now.  Gently mash the yolks with a fork.  Add the miracle whip, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce (optional), paprika, salt and pepper and gently incorporate.  Once everything looks semi-smooth, put the yolk mixture into a sandwich ziplock bag.  At this point, you can keep it in the fridge for several hours and put the whites in a tupperware (I love when you can make things ahead of time)!  Just before you want to serve the deviled eggs, place your eggs on a plate, snip off a small corner of the ziplock bag, and pipe a little of the yolk mixture into each egg.  Cut some chives into small and medium-size pieces and arrange on top of the egg like the laces of a football.  Sprinkle with paprika.  

*For the best hard boiled eggs, use this trick that I learned from my Grandma R.  Start your eggs in cold water, put the pot on a medium-high heat burner.  Once the water starts to boil, set your timer for 8 minutes.  When the timer beeps, move off of the hot surface for 1 minute.  Finally, take the pot of eggs over to your sink, run cold water over the eggs and let cool until the eggs are room-temperature to your touch.  Peel immediately.  Love ya, Mugga! 

08 September 2009

Sunny Arnold Palmer

Here's the scoop on Labor Day: Doug and I played football in the park.  We went for a walk.  He watched college football.  I wrote a paper or two.  We sat on the balcony.  He had a Blue Moon with a slice of orange.  I wanted something sweet and refreshing too... so I flipped through one of my sangria cookbooks and found a recipe for a Raspberry Arnold Palmer... but I didn't have raspberries... so I changed this name to just a "Sunny Arnold Palmer" because I enjoyed it on a sunny day!  I'm sure it would be even better with the raspberries and mint, so be sure to try that if you have them in your fridge.  

Sunny Arnold Palmer
(Adapted from 101 Sangrias)
Yield: 1 large, refreshing serving

1/2 C. Lemonade
1/2 C. Iced Tea
5 to 7 fresh Raspberries, plus extra for garnish (optional)
1 to 1.5 oz. Vodka (optional)
Mint Sprig, for garnish (optional)
Lemon slice

Combine the lemonade and iced tea in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add the raspberries (if you want it sweeter) and shake well.  Pour into a glass.  If desired, add the vodka.  Garnish with a slice of lemon (and mint sprig or additional whole raspberries, if that's what you prefer).  

07 September 2009

Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

Looking for something different to make for dinner? Try these tangy and delicious fish tacos. I tore this recipe out of one of my old Food & Wine magazines and it has been sitting in my recipe scrapbook for a while now. I think Doug enjoyed this meal because I put all the fixings on one large platter and we camped out in the living room (with college football on the TV of course).

Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw
(Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine: June 2008)
Yield: 10 Tacos

1 Small Head of Napa Cabbage, shredded (about 4 C.)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil, plus more for brushing
2 Tbsp. Lime Juice
2 Pounds thick Red Snapper fillets with skin (or Tilapia)
10 Tortillas (7''), warmed
2 Medium Tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 C. Guacamole (prepared or homemade... I will post my recipe soon!)
Hot Sauce, for serving
Lime Wedges, for serving

Light a grill to medium heat. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the 2 tablespoons lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Brush the fish with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat until lightly charred and cooked through, about 10 minutes. You can also do this in a skillet. Transfer the fish to a platter and pull off the skin.

To assemble each taco, spread a dollop of guacamole on a tortilla. Top with a piece of fish, a few tomato slices and a large spoonful of the cabbage slaw. Serve with the hot sauce and lime wedges.

06 September 2009

Mushrooms in Garlic + Parsley

Meson del Champiñon is my absolute favorite tapas bar in Madrid. It is one of Madrid's oldest taverns among a series of cave bars under Plaza Mayor. Let's just say that I had a world of memories come back to me last night when I tasted these mushrooms in garlic and parsley. It was just like I remembered! These tapas are traditionally served in terra cotta cazuela dishes, but I don't have any... so I served them on my great-grandma's vintage pastel fiestaware! Gotta love that!

Mushrooms in Garlic & Parsley
"Champiñones al ajillo"
(Adapted from my Tapas cookbook)
Yield: 6 Appetizer-Size Servings

1/4 C. Olive Oil
6 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 Pound Mushrooms
2 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. Flour
1 C. Water
Pepper, freshly ground
Juice of 1/2 Lemon

In a frying pan over medium heat, warm oil. Add garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Add mushrooms and parsley and cook until mushrooms begin to exude liquid. Add flour and stir constantly until liquid becomes a paste, then stir in water, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Simmer for 10 minues, adding a little more water if sauce is too thick. Serve hot.

Next time I make this recipe, I am going to try adding some white wine (maybe 1/2 C. Water, 1/2 C. White Wine). Give it a shot when you make this recipe; I'm sure it will taste great!

I snapped this picture of Meson del Champiñon one rainy night while frequenting the row of tapas bars under Plaza Mayor. Mom, do you remember this night?! SO FUN!

04 September 2009

Happy Birthday Doug!

Just wanted to wish my boyfriend, Doug, the most amazing birthday ever!!  Sending you many birthday wishes!  Hope you enjoy your day... not to mention, you only have 52 weeks until you are the big 3-0!! xo

At Dr. & Mrs. D's house for Doug's birthday dinner

Loved the cake, Mrs. D!  Too funny!

Happy birthday to youuuuu!  Clap! Clap! Clap!

03 September 2009

Rainy Day

This is my first rainy day in Omaha.  For the past week and a half I have been able to just walk to Wohlner's Grocery, use my reusable grocery tote, and pick up whatever ingredients I need to make blogworthy recipes.  Unfortunately I am home-bound today due to the rain.  Of course, I could take my car to the grocery store... but days like today make me want to embrace being lazy.  

...My plan is to snuggle up on the couch with some tea and read a good book.  Doesn't that sound delightful?  I think so. 

02 September 2009

Coconut Shrimp + Citrus Ginger Sauce

Top Chef Wednesday! What delicious meal did you make? I always try to make something fun and different on Wednesday nights because of Bravo's show, Top Chef. Tonight, I made baked coconut shrimp with a citrus-ginger dipping sauce (a healthier alternative to deep-fried coconut shrimp). I've made this baked shrimp before, so I knew that wouldn't be a problem... but the sauce was something new to me. I enjoyed the tang of the orange and lime juice, the wonderful aroma of fresh ginger, and the fact that the sauce was piping-hot!

We used sushi plates to serve the shrimp and filled the little bowls (normally used for soy sauce) with the dipping sauce. A special note to my readers: To store your bag of opened coconut flakes, tightly close the bag and place it in the refrigerator.

Baked Coconut Shrimp (Adapted from Southern Living Magazine)
Yield: 4 servings

1 1/2 pounds Large Raw Shrimp
2 Egg Whites
1/4 C. Cornstarch
1 Tbsp. Caribbean Jerk Seasoning
1 C. Sweetened Flaked Coconut
1 C. Japanese Breadcrumbs (Panko)
1 tsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel shrimp, leaving tails on; devein. Line a 15'' x 10'' x 1'' jelly-roll pan with foil. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray on the pan. Whisk egg whites until just foamy. Stir together cornstarch and jerk seasoning in a shallow dish. Stir together coconut, panko, paprika, and cayenne in another shallow dish. Dredge shrimp, one at a time, in cornstarch mixture. Dip in egg whites and dredge in coconut mixture, pressing gently with fingers. Lightly coat shrimp on each side with cooking spray; arrange shrimp on wire rack. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink, turning once after 8 minutes.

Citrus-Ginger Dipping Sauce

1 C. Orange Juice
2 Tbsp. Lime Juice
2 tsp. Fresh Ginger, minced or grated
2 tsp. Cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp. Water
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

In a small saucepan, whisk together orange juice, lime juice, ginger, cornstarch mixture, and garlic powder. Set pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer for approximately 5 minutes, until mixture thickens. You may need to add some more cornstarch/water mixture to get your desired consistency. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the sauce to individual serving bowls.

01 September 2009

Gorgonzola Wafers

I've been searching high and low for the perfect appetizer to be paired with a glass of red wine.  These gorgonzola wafers are just the thing!  However, if you want to enjoy them with good company, on the boat, under the sun, and with a bloody mary in hand, then that is perfectly fine too!  (...And that is exactly how I discovered these little bites of heaven).  

If you don't care for the taste or smell of blue cheese, these may not be for you.  I, on the other hand, LOVE blue cheese.  The best part is that you can make these elegant appetizers days in advance of a gathering.  I just want to give a big THANKS to Ellen M. for sharing her wonderful recipe! 

Gorgonzola Wafers
(Recipe from our family friend, Ellen M.)
Yield: 30 wafers

8 oz. Gorgonzola, or other blue cheese, crumbled
4 oz. Butter, at room temperature
1 C. All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt

Combine butter and cheese, blending until creamy.  Add flour and salt; mix until all ingredients are incorporated.  Form dough into a cylinder the size you would like your crackers to be.  Refrigerate until firm (3 hours or overnight).  Slice dough into rounds 1/8-inch thick and place on a cold, greased baking sheet 2-inches apart.  Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven.