Friday, August 30, 2013

Roasted Tomato and Basil Quinotto

I'm harvesting beautiful grape and cherry tomatoes right now and thought about a risotto like dish using quinoa.  Add some basil and a little cheese and you've got "Quinotto"!

Serves 3 or 4

For the roasted tomatoes and garlic:

2 cups grape or small cherry tomatoes (or a combination of both)
2 large cloves garlic left in their skins
4 Tbl olive oil
Salt and pepper

Place the tomatoes and garlic cloves in a small roasting pan and add the oil and a little salt and pepper.  Roll everything around to coat and then roast in a 400F oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the tomatoes begin to shrivel a bit.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

For the quinotto:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained well
3 Tbl butter
The previously roasted garlic cloves
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups warm chicken broth (I think vegetable broth would also work)
The roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Squeeze the garlic from their skins and then mash and chop it.
Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan and then add the quinoa and garlic and stir to coat all the grains.
Over medium heat, add the wine and cook while stirring frequently until the wine is absorbed into the quinoa.
Now add a ladle of chicken broth and stir while cooking until the broth absorbs into the quinoa.  keep repeating until the quinoa is cooked (You may not need all of the broth) This may take about 30 minutes.  You want the mix to be loose and not dry.
Gently stir in the cheese, tomatoes and basil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
NOTE TO COOK: You can stir in a bit of cream at the end for a creamier version...I'd say about 1/4 cup.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dilled Zucchini Soup for All Seasons

A lot of zucchini coming out of the garden right now and I'm thinking of all sorts of ways to prepare it.  Cooler nights this week so soup was in order.  I took one of those zucchini and added potatoes, dill and chicken broth and made this soup.  The next day I tasted the leftovers chilled and it was just as good!  Truly a soup for all seasons!!

Makes about 2 quarts

2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 medium red skin potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups) or more:see note below
1 medium zucchini grated on the large holes of a box grater (about 3 cups)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 Tbl minced fresh dill or 1 Tbl dried
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
Thinly sliced green onion for garnish(optional) if serving warm
Finely diced cucumber for garnish (optional) if serving chilled

In a 4 quart soup pot, melt the butter along with the olive oil, add the diced onion and saute until the onion softens bu doesn't brown.
Add the diced potatoes, shredded zucchini, salt, pepper and dill and continue to saute while stirring for 3 or 4 more minutes.
Add the chicken broth, bring up to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.
Cool the soup a bit and then puree with an immersion blender or blend in batches in a regular blender.  To serve warm, bring the soup just barely to a boil and whisk in the sour cream.  garnish each bowl with green onion if desired.  To serve cold, after whisking in the sour cream, cool the soup to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for several hours (or overnight) before serving and garnish with cucumber.
NOTE:  For a thicker soup add a few more potatoes to the mix.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Roasted Tomato, Whipped Burrata and Basil Oil Soup

Yes   this is a simple roasted tomato soup, but what puts it over the top is a dollop of whipped burrata cheese and a drizzle of basil oil in the finish.  Summertime...Summertime!

Makes 1 1/2 to 2 quarts

 For the soup:
2 pounds Roma tomatoes
2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
A sprinkling of sea salt and pepper
4 Tbl butter
2 large shallots
2 large cloves garlic
2 Tbl AP flour
5 cups rich chicken broth
2 large basil leaves
Additional salt and pepper to taste

Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and seed them.  Place the halves, cut side up, on a parchment or Silpat lined rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle them with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle a little salt and pepper over.  Roast in a 350F oven for one hour.  Remove from the oven and set aside.
Finely dice the shallots and garlic.  In a 4 quart soup pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter, add the diced garlic and shallots and saute until they soften up and become very fragrant.  Stir in the 2 tablespoons of flour and then saute for another minute or two.
Add the chicken broth and roasted tomatoes to the pot, bring up to the boil and then simmer the mixture for 20 minutes.
Let the soup cool a bit and then, in batches, puree the soup in a blender until quite smooth.  During one of those batches, add the 2 basil leaves so they get pureed also. can certainly strain the soup into a clean pot, but I don't mind the few stray bits of tomato that might remain, so I leave it a little "rustic".  In any event, return the pureed soup to a clean pot.

For the burrata, basil oil and putting it all together:

1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 eight ounce ball of fresh burrata cheese
The roasted tomato soup

Place the basil leaves, olive oil and salt in a blender and then blend until the mixture gets as smooth as you can get it.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract all of the oil.  Set aside.
Break up the ball of burrata and place in a mini food processor and process until light and fluffy.
Gently reheat the soup, ladle into serving bowls and top each with a dollop of whipped burrata and a drizzle of the basil oil.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cucumbers and Chickpeas with a Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

We're picking one or two long English cucumbers everyday right many to keep up with.  Some sort of cucumber dish is on the menu each night and this was one of them.  Extremely easy and refreshing!

Makes about 4 cups

1 large clove garlic, mashed or put through a garlic press
1 tsp lime zest
Juice of one large lime
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
4 Tbl honey
3 Tbl grapeseed oil(or another neutral oil)
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or in a pinch, one 15 ounce can, rinsed and drained)
1 nice size English cucumber, cut into a small dice
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the garlic, zest, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, honey, oil and 1/4 tsp salt.  Set aside.
Combine the cucumbers and chickpeas, pour the dressing over, taste for salt and pepper if needed and let marinate in the fridge for an hour or two before serving.