Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pan Seared Scallops

1 to 1 1/4 pounds dry sea scallops, approximately 16
2 teaspoons  butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Remove the small side muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry. Add the butter and oil to a large saute pan on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the oil and butter begin to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center. Serve immediately.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad

3 or 4 small to medium heirloom tomatoes, in assorted colors, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 small English or regular cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 cup 3/4-inch-cubed yellow or red seedless watermelon flesh
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 tablespoon chopped basil
1/2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/2 tbsp. chives
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, avocado, and herbs. Toss gently.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the tomato mixture and toss to coat evenly. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pancetta Potato Salad

5 slices of pancetta

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel

1 garlic clove, pressed

2/3 cup olive oil

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes

3 large celery stalks, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange pancetta slices on rimmed baking sheet, spacing apart. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes (do not turn). Drain on paper towels. Cool. Coarsely chop pancetta.

Whisk lemon juice, rosemary, lemon peel, and garlic in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

 Bring potatoes to a  boil in a large pot. Cook until fork tender, about 15 min. Drain and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.

Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices (remove skin, if desired). Place in large bowl; add celery. Drizzle dressing over; toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until cold, at least 2 hours. 

Sprinkle pancetta and chopped parsley over potato salad and serve.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

1 lb. shell pasta
1 8oz. pkg. sliced baby portobellos
1 green zucchini, halved and sliced
1 can of black olives, drained
1 small jar of green olives, drained
1 small jar (6-8oz.) roasted red peppers, julienned
3/4 cup celery, chopped
olive oil. to coat salad (3 to 1 ratio with vinegar)
white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the grill to "low" setting. Make a foil pouch and add zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers. Lightly coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. grill for about 20-25 minutes. While veggies are grilling cook pasta according to pkg directions, (chop celery while cooking pasta.) Place pasta into a large mixing bowl with the olives, grilled veggies, and celery. Lightly coat with oil and a few splashes of vinegar. Season with basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Summer Sangria

6 cups  Sauvignon Blanc

1/4 cup superfine sugar

1 cup white grape juice

1 ripe nectarine, pitted and cut into thin wedges

1 tangerine, thinly sliced

1 cup seedless white grapes, halved

1 cup lemon/lime soda

In a large pitcher or other container, combine the wine and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the remaining ingredients, excluding the soda, and mix well. Place the pitcher in the refrigerator and let the sangria sit for at least 1 hour (and up to 4 hours). The sangria will sweeten with time, so the longer it sits, the better. Just before serving, stir in the soda and ice cubes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

BLT Salad

On these warm muggy nights here in Iowa it's nice sometimes to just have a fresh salad with a good crusty bread for dinner. Here's a favorite salad recipe in our home.

1 head of romaine, washed and chopped
6-8 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
1 large tomato, sliced ( you can also use cherry or grape tomatoes )
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1 6oz. container of blue cheese
 Your favorite blue cheese dressing

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with dressing. I recently added a sprinkle of the balsamic glaze to this which really woke up the salad even more.

Balsamic Glaze

This is such a nice recipe to jazz up any of your grilled meats, roasted veggies or even on top of a rich vanilla ice cream. I used mint this week over my BLT salad. I couldn't decide if I wanted blue cheese dressing or the glaze, so I opted for both! The sweet, pungent reduction balanced out the creaminess of the blue chesse very nicely and I can't wait to make this salad again.

1 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. of granulated sugar

Place ingredients in a small sauce pan & bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer till the syrup reduces to 75% and thickens into a syrup. (takes about 15 min.)

Frozen Cucumber Pickles

Frozen Cucumber Pickles

This is a recipe from my mom which I just made yesterday. I don't know if it was the fact that I used the fresh cucumber from our farmer's market or if it was my ravenous craving for them, they just were refreshing and delicious!
1 pound Kirby or pickling cucumbers, sliced (4 cups)
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
½ cup cider vinegar

Combine cucumber, onions, salt and water in a glass bowl
Let stand at room temperature for two hours
Add sugar and vinegar stirring until sugar is dissolved
Pack mixture lightly into two 1-pint freezer containers, leaving 1-inch space at top
Cover tightly and freeze overnight or up to 6 weeks
Thaw at room temperature 4 hours.

Refrigerate any leftovers up to 1 week

Makes 4 cups