Friday, May 24, 2013

Roasted Tomatoes and Cheese

Not really a defined recipe but since tomatoes aren't in season here in Michigan yet and wanting something like a caprese salad to go with our grilled lamb chops last night, I roasted some small Campari tomatoes for about 20 minutes at 400F, which I had cut in half, in olive oil and a bunch of chopped garlic ( like 5 cloves!). I sliced fresh mozzarella and poured the cooled tomatoes, juices and all, over and topped with some salt, pepper and fresh basil leaves. Use whole cherry tomatoes if you like and get some good bread to dip in the lovely juices.
I think they'll be on the Memorial Day menu!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I'm a Finalist!!!

My 'Bama Kebabs recipe (which have been re-named Alabama-Style Chicken Kebabs) is a Finalist in the Food52 Your Best Barbecue Contest.  I'm just thrilled and hope you will go here to sign in or log in and vote!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Coconut Confetti Rice Salad

An easy refreshing "make ahead" salad to bring to a picnic or to just have on hand for some lime grilled chicken...

Serves 6 to 8 (or maybe more)

1  1/2 cups jasmine rice
One 13.5 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup water
2 cups finely diced English cucumber (leave the skin on)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup finely diced red radish
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 Tbl granulated sugar
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/2 cup finely sliced fresh mint leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour the coconut milk and water into a medium sauce pan which has a lid.  heat until the cream on top of the can of coconut milk melts into the mixture.  Add the rice, bring up to a boil and then gently simmer, covered for 15 to 18 minutes until the liquid is absorbed into the rice.  Cool the rice to room temperature.
Once the rice has cooled, place in a good size mixing bowl and stir in the diced cucumber, onion, radish, jalapeno and coconut.
Whisk the lime juice, sugar and oil together and then stir into the salad until everything is coated.
Gently stir in the sliced mint leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper.  refrigerate but bring to room temperature to serve.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sweet Coconut Buns

Tom is a big fan of those little sweet Hawaiian rolls that you can buy in a four pack at the grocery store and I occasionally pick them up for him.  I set out to do a little research and found numerous recipes for a sweet Samoan bun called Pani Popo. Many of the recipes called for frozen roll dough or refrigerated biscuit dough but I had a recipe for a savory bun dough from an archived La Cucina Italiana magazine that I converted to sweet.  What makes these special is the coconut sauce poured over before baking resulting in a little "sweet" sauce on the bottom of the bun.  They're great with coffee or tea....

Makes 9 buns

For the bun dough:

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk from a 13.5 ounce can (make sure to whisk the can of milk thoroughly) and save the rest for the sauce
1 Tbl active dry yeast
3 Tbl granulated sugar
1  3/4 cups bread flour, divided (plus more for kneading)
1 room temperature egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
2 Tbl very, very soft butter
A pinch of salt

Warm the half cup of milk to 90 to 100 degrees and then in a large mixing bowl, combine it with the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup of the flour.  let this mixture rest for about 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes stir in the egg, butter, coconut flakes and salt.  Start adding the remaining flour, a little at a time until incorporated.  On a floured work surface. knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding more flour if needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic. (you can always use your mixer's dough hook if desired)
Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in, turning once to lightly oil all surfaces.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled.  This could take from one to three hours, depending
Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide into 9 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and place them in a lightly greased 8 to 9 inch round baking pan.  let the buns rise again for 30 to 40 minutes.

For the sauce and baking:

The remainder of the can of coconut milk
1/4 cup water
4 Tbl granulated sugar

While the buns are rising, whisk together the milk, sugar and water.
Pre heat your oven to 375.  Pour the sauce over the risen buns.  You may not need all of it, but try to get as much in as you can without overspill.  I used about 7 ounces, but it will depend on the height of your baking dish.
Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden on top.  let them rest for about 20 minutes so the lovely sauce on the bottom sets up.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Absolutely Must Have Marinade

I love lemon and garlic and use both to flavor meats of all sorts.....pork kebabs, lamb chops and even roast chicken.  Tonight I'm brushing this one on sliced eggplant, zucchini and red onions before grilling.  It's really versatile and extremely easy to make.  I use dried herbs because I always have them, summer or winter, and one never knows when a chicken needs marinating before going into the oven.  Use this to marinate a whole fish briefly before grilling and give the lamb and pork a little more time.

Makes about one cup

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a mini food processor and process until the garlic dissipates and everything is blended well.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mediterranean Fish Stew

I love fish and seafood stews and I love pairing fish with fennel...the flavors are intoxicating.  A loaf of crusty bread finishes this off.

Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 anchovy fillets, minced
2 small leeks, pale green and white parts only, sliced lengthwise and the crosswise into quarter inch half moons
2 medium fennel bulbs, cored and thinly sliced
5 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp ground fennel seed
1 tsp saffron threads, crushed a bit
1  14.5 ounce can Roma tomatoes, chopped and with the juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups clam juice
4 medium redskin potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup small black olives ( nicoise or kalamata)
1  1/2 pounds skinless, boneless salt water fish (cod, halibut, pollock, etc) cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Gently heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven, add the anchovies and saute until the anchovies break up and sort of disintegrate.  Add the leeks and fennel slices and continue to cook until the leeks are soft but not browned
Stir in the minced garlic, saffron and ground fennel seed and saute for about two more minutes
Add the wine, tomatoes, clam juice and potatoes.  Bring the mixture up to the boil and then down to a simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender
Add the olives and fish and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes or until the fish turns opaque
Stir in the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper
Serve warm with your favorite crusty bread or baguette

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

'Bama Kebabs

I still can't put new photos on this blog so in the meantime I'm posting photos you've all ready seen and sending you links to recipes.  Here's the link to the tart and spicy chicken kebabs we had this week.  The BBQ sauce is a white one, Alabama style, made with mayo and vinegar as opposed to tomato.  Pretty darn good!  See it here:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013


I still can't upload pictures to this blog from any source except this blog, although I think they're working on it...seems like many others are experiencing the same difficulties.  So in the meantime gaze at the beautiful tulips that you saw here last year!

And another update: My Dad came home from the hospital on Monday after a three week stay..pneumonia and a mild heart attack..he's on the mend and doing pretty well.