Friday, July 31, 2009

Lemony Potato Salad

Whenever I see a recipe for potato salad I start scheming to figure out when I can throw it together and who is going to eat it with me. Although the dog-eared July issue of Gourmet magazine has provided a myriad of delicious recipes, it wasn't until this past weekend that I finally made the Lemony Potato Salad.
I have to admit the addition of lemon zest and juice may have scared me off at first. Let me assure you, though, it is a fantastic combination! It gives the salad a lighter feel and with only a 1/2 cup of mayo to three pounds of potatoes, you can feel a little better about shoveling it in spoonful after spoonful. The original recipe suggests bringing the salad to room temp before serving, but I for one will not take a chance when serving mayonnaise in the summer heat.

Lemony Potato Salad
adapted from Gourmet Magazine

3 lb. small boiling potatoes (we used Yukon Golds)
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar
1 T. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Cover potatoes with water in large pot and season well with salt. Bring to boil, then simmer until tender, 12 to 20 minutes. While potatoes cook, stir together celery, mayonnaise, green onions, lemon zest and juice, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Drain potatoes and cool completely, then halve or quarter. Add to dressing and toss to coat.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rolo Cookies

My mother has amassed quite a collection of cookbooks over the years and she always is able to weed through the pages to find delicious and special recipes to share with family and friends. She was given a Best of Friends cookbook by a family member and immediately found a cookie recipe we would enjoy for years to come.
I happened to make these a few weeks back when a craving for chocolate and caramel was to overwhelming to ignore. I do want to mention the dough tends to be quite loose, so refrigerating it for a period will make the process a little easier. These are time consuming, but a very special treat to share, or if you are anything like me, polish off on your own while watching trashy Bravo network programming!

Rolo Cookies
c/o Best of Friends, Etc.
by: Darlene Glantz Skees

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 cup butter (room temperature)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans
48 Rolos (9 oz. pkg.)
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 oz. vanilla candy coating or white chocolate

Beat together 1 cup granulated sugar,1 cup packed brown sugar, and 1 cup butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs and beat well. Add flour, cocoa and soda and blend well. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped pecans if desired. Shape 1 tbsp. dough around a Rolo. Combine 1/2 cup chopped pecans and 2 Tbsp. sugar and press one side of each ball into pecan mixture. Place nut side up, 2" apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Cool 2 minutes, remove from sheet and drizzle with melted white chocolate.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers Peach Blueberry Crumble

This week's Barefoot challenge is the Peach Blueberry Crumble from Barefoot Contessa at Home. I definitely send my thanks to Aggie of Aggie's Kitchen for this delicious selection. We really enjoyed the addition of the lemon juice and zest in this recipe. It's presence certainly brightened the flavor of the other fruits and gave it such a summery flavor. My only issue with this recipe is that there is not a local peach to be found in our part of Michigan at this time in the summer. We were able to use local blueberries, but the peaches from the grocery store just weren't ripe enough to make this sing. Here is my proposal: try again at the very end of August/beginning of September when we can easily source local blackberries and peaches simultaneously. Problem solved!!

Peach and Blueberry Crumbles
Recipe by Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home

For the fruit
  • 2 lbs firm, ripe peaches (6-8 peaches)
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (1/2 pint)

For the Crumble

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 lb (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until their skins peel off easily. Place them immediately in cold water. Peel the peaches, slice them into thick wedges, and place them in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the blueberries. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into ramekins or custard cups.

For the topping, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it’s in big crumbles, then sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and back for 40 to 45 minutes, until the tops are browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature. If you want to make these early, store the unbaked crumbles int he refrigerator and bake before dinner. Serves 5 to 6.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers Pasta with Sudried Tomatoes

This weeks selection for the Barefoot Bl0ggers came from Cat over at Delta Whiskey. We took this dish over to our friends Timm and Faith, and one of the comments that came from that noshing was, "This is Summer!" Our sentiments exactly. A couple of modifications we made: We could not find sundried tomatoes at the local grocery store so we substituted a jar of sundried tomato bruschetta and we found it worked like a charm. After perusing the reviews at the Food Network we decided to cut back on the oil, double the pasta, and due to our personal tastes we nixed the kalamata olives and the capers. Verdict: we will be making this again during the height of the tomato harvest. The tartness of the vinegar, the acidity of the tomato, and the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella was an unbelievable combination of tastes and textures. A big thank you goes out to Cat for choosing this simple, fresh summer dish.

Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes
courtesy of Ina Garten via the Food Network

1/2 pound fusilli (spirals) pasta
Kosher salt
Olive oil
1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
3/4 cup good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

For the dressing:

5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

6 tablespoons good olive oil

1 garlic clove, diced

1 teaspoon capers, drained

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.

Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil, and toss well.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Burgers and Buns

I am always mesmerized with the beautiful food and photos over at the Smitten Kitchen, and when I saw the light brioche burger buns the other day, I knew I had to give them a go. The recipe was easy and really made the burger more special. I previously mentioned how tasty goat cheese and caramelized onions are on a burger, and today was no exception. We also threw on some mixed greens straight from the garden and a nice slice of tomato to top it off. Although it is so easy and convenient to simply pick up a package of buns at your local grocery store, I really think for the little bit of hands on time, it is beyond worth it to make your own. Needless to say, these are definitely part of the repertoire from here on out!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Since we knew time would be limited on the Fourth, we thought we would get together with our good friends Timm and Faith and celebrate early. We went for simple, picnic style food and came up with the following menu:
Burgers with all the fixins'
Corn Salad
Potato Salad
Strawberry Shortcake Cake
The Strawberry Shortcake Cake came straight from my favorite down-home gal The Pioneer Woman, and like all the other recipes I have tried from her collection, was delicious. It was beyond moist and the cream cheese frosting complimented the berries beautifully. I will certainly make this again to share with family and friends.
And P.S....if you haven't tried goat cheese and caramelized onions on your burger, you are really missing out!