Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tomato, Orzo and Chickpea Salad

I love making pasta with a raw sauce of fresh tomatoes and a few other ingredients.  I took the same concept and created this pasta salad adding a few other ingredients which can withstand the heat. Served cold or at "picnic" temperature, it's a great side or a wonderful vegetarian meal.  Marinating the tomatoes for 2 to 3 hours creates the dressing.

4 cups seeded diced tomatoes
1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbl red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups cooked and rinsed garbanzo beans ( or 1 14 to 15 ounce can, drained and rinsed)
1 cup uncooked orzo
1 cup diced English cucumber
1/2 cup sliced Kalamata olives
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup sliced fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl combine the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, crushed pepper, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Park the mixture on the counter for 2 to 3 hours.
Cook the orzo according to package directions.  Drain and rinse.
After the 2 to 3 hours "marinating" time, combine the tomatoes, garbanzo beans, cucumber, orzo and olives.  Re-season with salt and pepper.
Chill until ready to take to the picnic!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shrimp Salad on a Croissant with White Bean "Mayo"

I love sandwiches on croissants, especially shrimp or chicken salad.  Here's my version for shrimp salad bound together with a white bean "mayo".  On a picnic this "mayo" might hold up better than the real thing and is really delicious .

For the mayo:
1 cup cooked, rinsed and drained white beans ( Northern or Cannellini)
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil ( might need a little more)
2  Tbl fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp salt
Puree all ingredients in a mini processor, adding a little extra oil if necessary to get the desired consistency.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the sandwich:
2 cups chopped, cooked peeled and deveined shrimp ( I used a one pound bag of 36-40 shell on Key West Pinks)
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried dill weed
3/4 cup white bean "mayo"
Salt and pepper to taste
4 croissants, split

Combine all ingredients except the croissants.  Divide the salad among them.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Maurice

Many of you are familiar with the JL Hudson Company, at one time THE Detroit department store. Hudson's is long gone but at least two of the famous dishes served in their restaurants remain (at least here in Michigan)  Chicken Pot Pie and Maurice Salad.  Maurice Salad is our all time favorite summer dinner when the heat gets the best of us.  Here's my version which makes a HUGE bowl:

For the dressing:
1 cup mayo
3/4 cup Miracle Whip
1 medium onion grated on the large holes of a box grater
3 to 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped fine
1/2 chopped parsley
Mix everything together and refrigerate to let the flavors mingle.

For the salad:
1 large head iceberg lettuce, shredded
3/4 pound diced deli ham
3/4 pound diced deli turkey
1/2 pound diced Swiss cheese
Toss all together and serve with the dressing

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Red Beans and Rice

Great warm as a side or at room temperature as a picnic salad, red beans and rice is a wonderful vegetarian dish (this one's actually vegan).  I make my own creole seasoning for this and keep the extra in a covered container for another time. This is the salad version.

Creole seasoning:
Combine the following:
3 Tbl salt
1 Tbl Hungarian paprika
1 Tbl granulated garlic
1 Tbl coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground thyme
1/4 tsp celery seed

For the red beans and rice:

1 cup long grained white rice, cooked and cooled
1 Tbl olive oil
1/2 cup diced poblano pepper
1 Tbl diced jalapeno pepper
1 Tbl creole seasoning ( or less if you can't stand a little heat)
1  14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 cups cooked red beans or kidney beans

In a medium sauce pan, saute the two peppers in the olive oil until they just begin to soften.
Add the creole seasoning and saute for about 30 seconds more.
Add the tomatoes and water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.  Cool the mixture to room temperature.
Combine the cooked rice, tomato mixture and beans.
Cover and chill to let the flavors blend. Serve at room temperature.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fiesta Pasta Salad

I took this pasta salad to Jessa's yesterday for Father's Day...it's very portable and feeds a crowd...add or omit any ingredients you like...add jalapeno for spice, omit the beans or omit the meat and add extra beans...any way it's always a good salad.

1  16 ounce package rotini or wagon wheel pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed
1  pound ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 cup water
1 package taco seasoning mix ( or your own)
2 cups shredded cheddar or jack cheese
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
1 tomato, seeded and finely diced
1  14 to 15 ounce red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 small cans sliced ripe black olives
1 bottle Catalina or Western salad dressing.

Brown the beef or turkey in a large saute pan and drain the meat.  Return to the pan and add the taco seasoning and water.  Simmer for about 10 minutes until the liquid is gone.  Cool the mixture.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Friday, June 17, 2011

White Chocolate Cheesecake

Here's a great dessert to make this summer when berries are abundant and at their ripest.  Make the gluten free crust that I offer or for ease, pour the filling into one of those pre made chocolate cookie crusts.  Serve with fresh berries or the blueberry-raspberry sauce below.

For the crust:
1  1/4 cups whole almonds, rather finely ground
4 ounces butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbl cocoa powder
Thoroughly mix all ingredients together and pat into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan.  Bake the crust in a 350F oven for 15 minutes.  Remove and cool.

For the filling:
1 pound softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 eggs
1 cup gluten free white chocolate chips or baking morsels, melted
1/4 cup water
1 pint fresh blueberries
2 Tbl sugar
1  6 ounce package fresh raspberries
In a mixing bowl mix the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and almond extract with an electric mixer until well blended.  Add the eggs, one at a time, while still mixing.
Stir in the melted white chocolate until fully incorporated.
Spread the mixture over the prepared crust and bake at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes until the center just sets.( check at 30)
Remove from the oven, let cool and the refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

For the topping, heat the blueberries, water and sugar in a saucepan until the berries just begin to soften and burst a little.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the raspberries.  Let cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Really Excited!

So excited to have won The Food52 "Your Best Soda Fountain" recipe contest!
Go here to see and PLEASE check out this website...it's totally incredible!


( this pic is a page from Mom's Betsy Clark Recipe  file book)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grilled Ham Steak

Here's a super easy main course for dinner..grab a ham steak and brush it with a mixture of the following:

1/4 cup apricot preserves ( or why not orange marmalade?)
2tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp honey or agave nectar

Grill the steak for 4 or 5 minutes per side until it gets a bit charred and warms through ( the steak is already cooked).  Serve with some scalloped potatoes and something green.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Big Chief, Little Chief

Remember a while back I wrote about the Big Chief Burger from the now gone Totem Pole in Royal Oak, MI?  Well I've re- worked it a bit and offer this recipe for the Little Chief.

For the sauce:
1 cup mayo
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbl ketchup
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp onion powder

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

For the burgers:
1  1/2 pound ground beef chuck
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 slices American cheese
Sliced sweet pickles
Shredded iceberg lettuce
The sauce
4 seeded hamburger buns

Season the ground beef with the salt and pepper and form 4 patties out of the mixture.  Grill to your desired "doneness"  ( we like medium for ground meats)
On the bottom of each burger bun layer a slice of cheese, a burger, a few slices of sweet pickle and a little shredded lettuce.
Slather the cut side of the top of the bun with the sauce.  Place on top of the burger and enjoy! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Excited and Flattered

Hey everyone...I'm so excited and flattered to be chosen as a finalist for my "Vernors" float recipe in The Food 52 recipes contest this week.  You can go here to see Amanda, co-founder and editor of the site making the float which I named "A Tribute to Woody" here:


and then go to Contests.

The flowers are from Jamie, Aaron, Drew and Riley for our 40th Wedding Anniversary which we celebrated Monday.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Floats & Shakes

The ginger syrup I made last week for Ginger Egg Cream can be use to make a "Vernors" tasting float or shake, especially if you live in parts of the country where Vernors Ginger  Ale isn't available.

For the shake place 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream, 1/4 cup of the ginger syrup and about 12 ounces of seltzer or club soda into a blender and blend it up.
Four the float place two or three scoops of vanilla ice cream into a tall glass, mix 1/4 cup of syrup with 12 ounces of seltzer or soda and pour over.
Grab the straws and spoons and enjoy!

Syrup recipe can be found here:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Coney

I know...it's just a chili dog...but get some satisfaction from making your own Coney sauce from scratch.

The Coney Sauce:
1  1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/3 cup finely diced onion
2 Tbl Ancho chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 Tbl all purpose flour
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth plus another 1/2 cup if you want a loose sauce

In a medium sauce pan, brown the ground beef and onion until the meat loses its color.  Drain and return to the stove.
With the mixture over medium heat, stir in the chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, sugar, allspice and celery salt.
Add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce and one cup of the chicken broth, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat, let cool a bit and place 1 1/2 cups of the mixture into a blender and puree.
Return the mixture back to the pot and reheat if ready to serve.
This sauce is rather dry. Add the 1/2 cup of reserved chicken broth for a looser sauce.

The Coneys:
8 good quality natural casing franks
8 hot dog buns
Yellow mustard
Finely diced white onion
The Coney sauce
Steam, grill or boil your franks until done. We like the casings to split a bit.
Dress each dog in the bun with the sauce, a stripe of yellow mustard and as many diced onions as you wish.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sweet Tea Slush

Iced tea is a favorite summer quencher around here but I often find that the ice dilutes it too quickly.  By making "ice tea" cubes I can enjoy my glass and keep it cold at the same time..I added ginger and mint instead of the traditional lemon for a different twist. (watch out for "brain freeze"!)

Serves 2
1/4 cup thinly sliced, peeled fresh ginger
10 mint leaves, torn
6 cups water
3 black tea bags
1/2 cup Agave nectar

In a sauce pan bring the water, ginger and mint to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat, add the Agave nectar and tea bags, cover and let steep for about 30 minutes.
Remove the tea bags, strain the tea and cool completely.
Fill an ice cube tray with some of the and freeze overnight (or until frozen).Refrigerate remaining tea.
When ready to serve, place half of the ice cubes in a blender along with 12 ounces of the chilled tea. Blend until slushy. Pour into a tall glass and grab a straw.  repeat for the second glass.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Eggplant Spread

I served this at our Memorial Day BBQ on an antipasto platter along with the skordalia, olives, cheese, tarama, grape leaves and octopus.  A great spread with nice dill flavor.

1 large eggplant, roasted whole in the oven at 350F for about an hour or until it softens and almost collapses.
1 clove garlic
1 Tbl dried dill weed or 3 Tbl fresh
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbl olive oil
Juice of one lemon 

Scrape the "meat" out of the roasted eggplant and place in the bowl of a food processor along with all the other ingredients, except the lemon juice, and process until smooth. Turn out into a bowl and stir in the lemon juice, a little at a time, tasting for your desired citrus effect. Adjust the salt and pepper if necessary and refrigerate up to a day ahead before serving with pita, bread, vegetable or crackers.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ginger Egg Cream

Here's a refreshing twist on a New York favorite - the egg cream, which is typically milk, seltzer and sugar with a little chocolate added now and again.  The ginger syrup has a Vernors Ginger Ale familiarity to it.

Ginger syrup:
1/2 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients except the vanilla in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes until reduced to one cup liquid.
Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and cool and strain.

For the ginger egg cream:
1 Tbl chocolate syrup
4 Tbl ginger syrup
1/3 cup half and half
Sparkling seltzer water

In a 12 to 16 ounce tumbler, mix the chocolate syrup, ginger syrup and half and half together.
Pour in enough seltzer to come within an inch of the top of the glass.  Stir and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pita Chips

Make your own pita chips and save money...flavor them in a number of ways..garlic, chili, cumin, salt and pepper..even some cheese.  Here's a basic recipe:

1 package large pita bread
olive oil

Cut each pita into 8 wedges and brush each side with the oil mixed with salt and pepper (you decide how salty or peppery you want them).  Place the wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350F for 5 to 7 minutes on the first side.  Flip them over and bake another few minutes.  Season your oil with your favorite spices and herbs.