Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day

I'm taking a few days off....gaze at my Mother's Day flowers...

Remember those who served for us...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

You'll Never Know They're Ice Cream Sandwiches

This is dessert for Sunday's Memorial Day's kid friendly and adult friendly.  I use an aluminum 9 x13 inch pan that comes with a plastic lid because this is a dessert that can be made days and days ahead and kept in the freezer until ready to serve. Feel free to change up the toppings on this any way you like.  Here's what I did:

2 packages ice cream sandwiches (12 in each pack)
1 very large container Cool Whip, thawed ( can substitute real whipped cream)
Chocolate Syrup
Caramel Syrup
Butter toffee peanuts, crushed (about 1 cup)

Place a layer of ice cream sandwiches on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan with sides. Spread half of the whipped topping over the whole thing.  Drizzle with some of each syrup and sprinkle with half the nuts. Repeat.  Cover and freeze until serving.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tuna, Pickled Ginger and Green Garlic Aioli with "Wasabi"

Mild green garlic aioli pairs well with tuna and pickled ginger...If you can't find green garlic, use a small clove of garlic.  Makes a great light appetizer for 2 to 4 people!

For the aioli:
1 room temperature egg
1/4 cup sliced green garlic (white and light green parts) or one small garlic clove
1 Tbl rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 Tbl wasabi powder mixed with enough warm water to form a thick paste
Place the egg, green garlic, vinegar and salt in the bowl of a mini processor and process until smooth.\Drizzle in the oil with the processor running, utilizing the teeny holes on the lid. process until slightly thick.
Stir in the wasabi paste and refrigerate to thicken more.

For the tuna:
2  8ounce yellow fin tuna steaks
1/2 cup Mirin (sweet rice cooking wine)
1 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl sesame seed oil
1 Tbl agave nectar ( you can use honey also)
Sweet pickled ginger for serving
Combine the Mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil and agave nectar and place in a heavy plastic freezer bag with the tuna. Marinate in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes.
Heat a grill pan sprayed with cooking spray until extremely hot.  grill the tuna for no more than 2 or 3 minutes per side.
Slice and serve with the aioli and pickled ginger.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Skordalia is a super garlicky potato dip or spread often served on Greek antipasto platters or as a condiment for grilled chicken, lamb or fish.  Normally the recipe has 8 to 10 cloves of fresh garlic, but I tamed this one by using only one clove of fresh and a head of roasted.  Gotta love garlic to love this!

1 head of garlic, top cut off about a half inch down, drizzled with a teaspoon of olive oil, placed on a piece of foil to cover and roasted in a 450F oven for 30 minutes.
1 clove of fresh garlic
1 room temperature egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping cups diced potatoes (I used Yukon Gold)
More lemon juice and salt for adjusting the finished product.

In the bowl of a mini processor, place the roasted garlic cloves, fresh garlic, egg salt, mustard and lemon juice and process until smooth.
Drizzle in the 2 oils utilizing the teeny holes on the lid of the machine while running until the mixture thickens.  Refrigerate to thicken a bit more.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until tender, drain and put them through a ricer or mash them until smooth.  Cool.
Combine your aioli(garlic mayo) with the potatoes.  Add more lemon juice and salt to taste.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Calamari Roadhouse Style

Whenever I hear the phrase "roadhouse style", I immediately think of frogs legs, breaded, flashed fried and then tossed in lemon garlic parsley butter.  Though I'd try the same technique with squid.  Turned out just right.

Garlic lemon sauce:
1 Tbl olive oil
3 cloves crushed garlic
4 Tbl butter
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 medium tomato, seeded cored and finely diced
1 Tbl capers in brine, drained
Gently saute the garlic in the olive oil until just fragrant.
Add the butter and let it melt slowly over low heat
Add the tomato, capers, parsley and lemon juice.
Keep warm while preparing the squid.

For the squid:
1 pound squid, tubes sliced in 1/2 inch rings, tentacles left whole (or just use tubes).  Pat the squid dry with paper towels.
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
peanut or vegetable oil for frying
salt and pepper to taste for serving
Juice of 1/2 lemon for serving
In a plastic or small paper bag combine the flours and salt and pepper.
Add the squid and shake in the flour until well coated
Empty the bag of squid into a dry colander set in the sink and shake off excess flour.
Fry the squid in hot oil, in batches if necessary, for about 3 minutes, turning them with a spider or slotted spoon about halfway through.
Remove the fried squid to paper toweling to drain briefly ( If doing in batches keep the first warm in a 300F oven)
Place the squid in a serving dish, drizzle with the warm lemon garlic butter, salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze the 1/2 lemon over all. Serve immediately!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Aioli Asiago Cheese Bread (aka Killer Bread Redux)

When my neighbors Kim and Jim told me that they loved the Killer Bread post and made it three days in a row...I had to re-visit it and try to make a more "natural" version ( no mayo with preservatives). I had the mayo recipe  and added garlic to make an aioli. The proportions are changed a bit, but just as good as the first version.

For the aioli:
1 room temperature egg
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup neutral oil (vegetable or canola)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a mini food processor process the egg, garlic, salt, lemon juice and mustard. Slowly drizzle in the oils while processing utilizing those teeny holes on the cover. Process until thick and then chill for a while.

For the "killer":
3/4 cup Asiago cheese
1/2 cup of the aioli
2 Tbl butter
2 stalks of green garlic or green onion, sliced.
Mix all ingredients together and spread on a split baguette or rolls or slices of bread.  Bake at 350F for 10 to 15 minutes.  Run under the broiler for a minute or two to brown.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Guac and Crab

Make this super easy layered dip in minutes using prepared guacamole and some blue crab meat.  Measurements are approximate in this one.

14 to 16 ounces prepared guacamole
8 ounces blue crab meat (I used backfin)
A few Tbl sour cream
About a 1/2 cup mayo (you may need to add a little more)
Ground cumin
Cayenne pepper
Sliced black olives
Sliced green onion
A little finely diced tomato

Mix the guacamole with the sour cream, a shake or two of the cumin, salt and cayenne.
In a separate bowl, mix the crab meat, mayo and a few shakes of cayenne.
Spread the guacamole evenly over the bottom of a small pie plate.
Cover completely with the crab mixture.
Sprinkle with olives, tomato, green onion and another shake or two of cayenne.
Chill and serve with tortilla chips for dipping.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring Vegetable and Salmon Nicoise Platter

Here's a great idea when having another couple over for dinner.  You can make all the components early in the day and then enjoy the evening.  The recipe calls for green garlic but feel free to substitute a garlic clove or two.  Use your imagination for the vegetables - you don't have to use fava beans, for example - substitute limas or cukes or whatever looks fresh. And if you don't like salmon, substitute poached chicken.

For the green garlic, lemon anchovy vinaigrette:
1/4 cup white and light green parts of sliced green garlic (or 2 cloves garlic)
8 flat anchovy filets
4 Tbl lemon juice
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Place all ingredients in a mini food processor and process until smooth.

For the platter:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless salmon
1 Tbl of the vinaigrette for roasting the salmon
2 pounds whole fava beans shelled blanched for about 2 minutes and the shelled again
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, blanched for 1 minute
Top 3 inches of one pound green asparagus, blanched for 2 minutes
Top 3 inches of one pound white asparagus, blanched for 2 minutes
12 baby redskins, boiled until fork tender
12 to 15 Kalamata olives
8 to 12 grape tomatoes
Baby romaine lettuce for lining the platter
2 or 3 hard boiled eggs (optional but oh so good)

Brush a little oil on the bottom of a medium roasting pan.  Lay the salmon on and drizzle and spread 1 Tbl of the vinaigrette over.  Roast the salmon for 10 to 15 minutes in a pre-heated 450F oven.  Cool and chill.
Cool and chill the potatoes and vegetables after blanching and boiling.
When ready to serve, line a large platter with the baby romaine and arrange the ingredients decoratively over.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette or pass separately.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Marinated and Grilled Baby Octopus

This may not be every one's cup of tea but I love marinated octopus as part of a Greek appetizer (mezze) platter.  I was able to find a 2 pound package of these baby octopi at my local Italian market.  These were really small - about 15 to the pound and already cleaned, so no muss. They pair well with feta and kalamatas ( and a shot of Ouzo or glass of Roditis! ).

For the marinade:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbl dried oregano
1 Tbl salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Combine all ingredients and set aside.

For the octopus:
2 pounds baby octopus (about 30 ), thawed if frozen
Juice of one or two lemons, depending on your taste for citrus
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano

Combine the marinade and octopus and marinate for 2 to 3 hours in the fridge.
Grill the octopus on high heat on a gas grill in a grill pan for 3 to 5 minutes per side.
Let cool in a bowl and then drain in a colander ( they exude a little juice after cooking)
Cut them up into bite size pieces and the dress them with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano.  Chill for at least and hour before serving.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Roasted Asparagus Soup with Lovage and Dill

When we moved to this house 31 years ago, the backyard was a flatland save for two sticks that called themselves trees, a three foot lilac bush and a small 4 x 10 empty garden plot.  My Dad, an avid gardener, came over armed with cuttings from his herb garden - thyme, sage, chives, garlic chives, oregano and lovage.  he told me that the lovage would give me years of wonderful celery flavor for soups and stews and would grow like a bush every year.  Well, 31 years later, the two sticks are over 50 feet tall, the lilac is huge and the lovage comes back every year.

1 Tbl olive oil
3/4 pound green asparagus, trimmed
3/4 pound white asparagus, trimmed
3 Tbl butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallot
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced new potatoes
6 cups chicken broth
3 Tbl chopped lovage ( or celery leaves if you can't get lovage)
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 Tbl dried dill weed
salt and white pepper to taste
sour cream for garnish (optional)

Rub the asparagus with the olive oil and roast in a 400F oven for 20 minutes. Let cool a bit and then cut into 2 inch pieces.
Sweat the shallots in the 3 Tbl butter until soft.
Stir in the potatoes and lovage and add the broth.  
Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh and dried dill and the asparagus.
Process in a food processor or blender in batches, until smooth.
Reheat and season to taste with the salt and white pepper.  Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream if desired.
NOTE: This soup is also good served cold. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Three Peas in a Pot

Well...maybe a pan, but pea shoots, garden peas and sugar snaps all meet with pasta and parmesan.

8 ounces linguini
Enough chicken broth to cook the linguini
4 Tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 large cloves garlic, minced
6 cups young pea shoots, cut in 2 to 3 inch pieces
1/2 pound sugar snap peas
1 1/2 cups shelled garden peas
10 torn fresh mint leaves
1/2 to 1 cup grated parmesan
Parmesan shavings for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the linguini in the broth, reserving 2 cups of the broth.
In a large saute pan, saute the garlic and crushed red pepper gently in the olive oil until the garlic becomes fragrant.
Add the sugar snaps and then the pea shoots and peas and saute until the pea shoots just begin to wilt.
Add the pasta and about one cup of the reserved broth and toss.
Stir in the mint and parmesan and more broth if needed.
Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the parmesan shavings.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Radishes and Zucchini

Radishes sweeten when roasted and paired with zucchini make a wonderful side dish.  I found this recipe while browsing the internet a while back, bookmarked it and made it last night with roast beef.  I paired it down a bit since there are only two of us...give it a try
Find the recipe here:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

It's going to be sunny and 68 degrees here in southeast Michigan today...If you're a mom have a wonderful day...and if you're not, have a wonderful day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Zucchini Pepper Saute

I found zucchini this week for 49 cents per pound and grabbed some up, naturally. They are nice and small and will serve us well in the next few days. I used one to make this little saute as a side.

2 Tbl olive oil
1 small zucchini sliced in quarter inch rounds
1 orange, red or yell bell pepper sliced
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

Heat the oil in a saute pan, add the onions and saute for about a minute.
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir fry until crisp tender. ( should only take about 4 or 5 minutes)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Calamari New Hellas

My first introduction to squid steaks was about 30 years ago at The New Hellas Cafe in Detroit's Greektown.  The owner would often bring samples of what he was cooking in the kitchen to our table.  This particular night he came out with a breaded squid steak served with a tomato and onion was so good that I had to learn to make it myself.  You can find frozen squid steaks at many Italian and Asian markets.

For the relish:
2 medium tomatoes, seeded, cored and finely diced
1 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients and set aside.

For the squid:
2 squid steaks, thawed if frozen
1 cup milk
1/3 cup flour for dusting the squid
1 egg beaten with 2 Tbl water
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil
lemon wedges (optional)
Soak the squid in the milk for 30 to 40 minutes.Remove and pat dry with paper towels.
Set up a breading station of a bowl of flour,a bowl of beaten egg and a bowl of seasoned crumbs.
Dredge each steak in the flour, then egg and then the crumbs.
Saute the steaks in a large pan in the olive oil for no more than 3 minutes per side until golden.
Serve immediately with the relish and lemon wedges if desired.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Killer Bread

The other night we still had sub buns left so I decided we'd turn a couple of them into some type of garlic bread.  Killer bread has been around the web for a long time.  This version uses green garlic from my garden and turns the taste milder. Green garlic is actually spring garlic and looks like green onionsLeft to mature they will actually form bulbs.  If you don't have green garlic, use a combination of minced garlic and green onions. If you want it REALLY killer, use even more garlic!

1/2 stick butter, softened
4 green garlic stalks, sliced or 2 cloves minced garlic and one green onion, sliced
1/3 cup mayo
1/2 cup shredded cheese - your choice: mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, asiago

Combine all ingredients and spread on split Italian bread, sub buns, or even leftover rolls.
Bake in a 350F oven for 10 to 15 minutes
Serve immediately

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yuriko's Potato Salad

This is not my potato belongs to a woman who I know as gingerroot from Hawaii...But this is a lovely lemony salad that's easy to prepare with few ingredients. I made it a couple of nights ago and served it with my Fried and Baked Chicken.  Both will definitely be on the menu for Memorial Day BBQ.

Take a look at this recipe and read gingerroot's story behind it here:

For the chicken go here:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Make a Slim Jim ...sort of

The Slim Jim Sandwich from the Big Boy has always been one of my favorites.  Last week, with some of that leftover Easter ham, we made a couple for dinner. Easy to do: Get a couple of sub buns, pile on ham and Swiss, add tomato and lettuce ( we also add sliced onion) and make an easy dressing:

1 Tbl dried minced onion, soaked in a little hot water
1/4 to 1/3 cup Thousand Island dressing
Combine the two ingredients and refrigerate a couple of hours before serving.

Toast or microwave your sandwich if desired.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chicken Wontons in a Ginger Soy Broth

A nice light chicken soup to start a meal....

 Makes 4 bowls
For the broth:
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbl fresh minced ginger
1 tsp peanut or vegetable oil
6 cups chicken broth
2 Tbl soy sauce
In a medium sauce pan saute the garlic and the ginger in the oil for about a minute until fragrant.
Add the broth and soy sauce, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Let the broth steep, covered for about 30 minutes.
Strain the broth and set aside. (Make this early in the day if you like)

Filling and soup assembly:
1 1/2 to 2 cups finely minced or shredded cooked chicken thigh meat
1 egg white
1 Tbl grated garlic
1 Tbl grated fresh ginger
2 Tbl soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 green onions, finely diced
1 tsp white pepper
12 wonton wrappers
1 baby bok choy or shanghai bok choy sliced thinly
8 - 10 pea pods sliced on the diagonal into 4 pieces each
3 to 4 Tbl grated carrot
2 tsp sesame oil
Additional soy sauce for serving

Mix the chicken, egg white, garlic, ginger, sugar, white pepper and soy sauce together and chill for at least an hour.
Place about a tsp of the chicken mixture in the center of each wonton.  With your finger, wet the edges of each wonton with water and fold into a triangle, making sure the edges are sealed.
Bring the soy ginger broth back to a boil.
Boil water in another pot and gently simmer the filled wontons, a few at a time for a few minutes.
Place 3 wontons in each soup bowl and drizzle each with 1/2 tsp of the sesame oil.
Add about a quarter of each vegetable to the bowls and pour the hot broth over all.  Serve with additional soy sauce if desired.