Asparagus, Parmesan and Red Onion Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

With the approach of summertime, gatherings on the porch, and grilling, I like serving a variety of vegetable salads. This one is perfect with grilled meats and chicken. It keeps several days covered and refrigerated.  This is my version of a recipe Anne Burrell features on the Food Network.  It is good with fresh Lemon Vinaigrette as well.

Asparagus, Parmesan, and Red Onion Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

1 bunch pencil-size asparagus

1 small red onion,  diced

1 cup shaved parmesan flakes

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Rinse and trim asparagus stalk ends by bending and snapping off where the stalk naturally wants to break. Cut asparagus stalks, including the tips into very thin slices, crosswise and place in a bowl. Add red onion and shaved Parmesan and toss to combine. Dress with vinegar, olive oil, and salt and toss again to coat vegetables with dressing.The vinegar will tenderize the asparagus. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to allow vegetables to marinate.

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Zucchini Fun

Last night I pulled out the handy little tool that turns vegetables into works of art like this.  Weird name, but it fits – a spiralizer.  Long before zoodles and other veggie noodles began appearing in supermarkets, we discovered how much tasty fun preparing them like this can be. The plate of zucchini ruffles, or curls, shown here took only 2 medium squash and less than 5 minutes to produce.  I sauteed these in a bit of olive oil with some herbs tossed in, but they make a lovely salad dressed with lemon vinaigrette.   I featured them skewered for kabobs in a previous post.  https://kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com/wp-a

If you click on that link, you will see photos of the tool with which you crank out these lovelies. It works for other veggies as well, but I have used it most often with squash.

Don’t cook the ruffles too long, it only takes a few seconds.  This makes a great substitute for pasta if you are watching carbs.  The dish also looks wonderful served as a side, making any table look like a celebration.

 

Pepperoni Eggs

Most of my recipes are for average quantity and number of servings.  I could give you this as a recipe serving 8 people.  But last week when I made it,  it was for Joe and me, 2 generous servings. You can easily double or triple if you wish, but this is how the breakfast pictured was made. We thought it was delicious!  It is a variation of a breakast casserole found in, Breakfast in Bed, a collection of the best B&B recipes from Northern California to British Columbia by Carol Frieberg.

Pepperoni Eggs

1/2 cup torn pieces of sour dough bread

2 eggs

3/4 cup milk (see directions)

1/3 cup shredded Mozarella

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I use Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset blend)

pinch of salt

8 pepperoni slices

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a small baking dish and cover bottom with bread piece. Add all but 1 Tablespoon cheese.  Break 2 eggs into a liquid measuring cup with a pouring spout.  Add seasonings and fill the rest of the cup with milk. Pour this mixture evenly over bread and cheese and sprinkle remaining grated cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until set.   2 servings.

 

Pulled Pork and Pasta Bake

This delicious dinner happened because I did not have hamburger buns!  I wanted to use 4 cups of leftover pulled pork, which we usually pile on a bun with a spicy slaw for hearty sandwiches.  There were no sandwich buns in the pantry, but we did have a variety of dried pasta, including an interesting artisanal pasta made in Gragnano, Italy called Gnocchi Napoletani. It almost seemed a shame to combine a leftover with such a fancy pasta, but I did and the results were wonderful.  This pasta dish is not heavy with cheeses and buttery sauces so the flavors are bright.

Pulled Pork and Pasta Bake

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

3/4 cup red wine

fresh thyme sprigs, 2 for chopping, and 2 for garnish

2  cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon chopped Italian or flat-leaf parsley

3 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped teaspoon plus extra oregano sprigs for garnish

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more if you like more heat

3/4 pound pasta, preferably orecchiette, or gnocchi (unfilled) – shell shape holds sauce

1/2 cup grated or flaked Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Cook pasta al dente, only about 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in skillet. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook until softened and beginning to brown.  Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the red wine and thyme sprigs and cook over high heat until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and simmer over low heat. Stir in the chopped parsley, oregano and crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper. Add 4 cups of pulled pork and cooked pasta.  Pour all into large baking dish sprayed with cooking spray and sprinkle grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over top.

Cover and place in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until all is heated through. Remove cover and continue baking for 10 minutes.  Serve hot, with crusty bread and a green salad.

Ribolitta

This hearty Tuscan soup is kin to minestrone but adds a layer of texture and flavor with its topping of bread and parmesan. There are many ways to add the bread to this soup, including layering it with vegetables, but I like the buttery crunch of toasted bread and cheese browned in the oven. You can use a variety of vegetables, a particularly useful thing when your garden harvest is bountiful.

Ribolitta

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided.
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz. diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4  cups water
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 bunch kale or chard, washed, stems removed, and chopped
  • 4 thick slices sourdough bread, toasted
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  1. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in large soup pot, add onion, carrot, celery and garlic; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Heat oven to 400 degrees.Add beans to the pot along with tomatoes, rosemary, and thyme. Bring back to simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove rosemary and thyme stems and stir in greens. Taste and adjust seasoning. Lay bread slices on top of the stew so they cover the top. Drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  4. Put the pot in the oven and bake until bread, onions and cheese are browned and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes.  Divide the soup and bread among 4 bowls and serve.

 

 

Crab Pie

I have loved seafood since I was very small. When I was two years old, Mother and Daddy moved with me to New Orleans, LA for Daddy to work in the shipyards during WWII.  He worked a night shift and would meet the shrimp wagons on the street on his way home.  He often brought fresh shrimp home which Mother cooked for his “supper” after work.  But this was my breakfast time and I had shrimp for breakfast!  Now, most of my family loves any kind of seafood, especially shrimp and crab.  Living on the Texas Gulf Coast helps as well!  This pie is made from tender lump crabmeat and tastes like crab cakes!

 Crab Pie

  • 1 lb. lump crabmeat
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Cup mayonnaise (I use the lighter Mayo with Olive Oil)
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 8 oz. shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 8 oz. Shredded Swiss Cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (white)
  • 1/3 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 2-ounce jar pimientos
  • 2 Nine Inch Deep Dish Pie Shells
  • 1 finely chopped jalapeno

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, flour, mayonnaise, and milk in a bowl and mix well.  Without breaking up the crab lumps, gently stir in the rest of the ingredients and set aside.  Bake pie shells at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, remove from oven and spoon crab mixture evenly into pie shells.  Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Thai Coconut Soup

Our time spent living in Southeast Asia increased our family’s love of many types of Asian food.  Thai food is among those.  The traditional soup Tom Kha Gai has so many lovely layers of flavor. This classic chicken and coconut soup gets its flavor from quintessential Thai ingredients: coconut milk, fresh ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, red pepper, basil, and cilantro. I omit the fish sauce in the recipe that has developed in our kitchen over time. Shrimp is a good substitute for chicken.

Thai Coconut Soup

3 cups chicken broth

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

4 thin slices fresh ginger

1-2 cups chopped or sliced cooked chicken breast or thighs

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste

4 ounces snow peas (optional, but very good)

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Cooked rice

Bring broth, lime juice,and ginger to boil in large saucepan.  Simmer for several minutes before adding chicken, coconut milk, and red pepper flakes. Return to simmer and cook until chicken is heated through.  Add snow peas and carrots and cook only 1 minute. Stir in cilantro and basil. Serve in soup bowls with cooked rice.

 

Curried Nuts and Dried Cherries

This is a spicy version of trail mix that will make it hard to go back to your old mix if you like curry!  Toasting the spices along with the nut mix makes your kitchen full of mouth-watering aroma.  Tart dried cherries are suggested ( my husband says he would add more!) – but any dried fruit would be delicious. We always keep dried cranberries in the pantry so I will make some soon with cranberries and chopped dried apricots.  Great party food!

Curried Nuts and Cherries

2 tsp olive oil

½ cup raw cashews

2 ½ tsp curry powder (I used hot curry powder, but use sweet if you prefer)

¾ tsp ground cumin

¾ tsp kosher salt

½ cup dried tart cherries
Heat  olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add all nuts, then stir in the curry powder, cumin, and salt. Toast for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Stir in the dried cherries and let the mixture cool. Serve.

Muffin Quiche

These muffin shaped treats are a nice make ahead or on the go breakfast and are a good choice for Easter brunch. They are pretty on a plate and easy to reheat.  Variations might include adding chopped crisp bacon, crumbled cooked pork sausage or diced ham. Cheddar or Montery Jack Cheese  can be subbed for the Swiss.

Muffin Cup Quiche

One roll crescent roll dough
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk or half and half
1/3 cup diced red pepper or chopped pimiento
2 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup finely chopped smoked sausage
1 teaspoon dried thyme.
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 oz  Swiss cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Spray a 12 serving muffin tin with cooking spray.
Pop open the crescent roll dough and separate the 8 triangles on a flat surface.Then lay the big end of each over 8 muffin cups, cutting the “tail” that is leftover.  You will use all these tails to make 4 more muffin cups. Press dough into muffin cups. The edges will be uneven, but after baking, create a rustic tart crust.
In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, thyme, salt and pepper.
Divide vegetables and chopped sausage evenly between each muffin cup. Repeat with egg mixture and sprinkle grated cheese on top. Bake for 12 minutes, or until filling is set and crust beginning to brown.

2 Ingredient Biscuits

A good recipe can often be used in different ways. My previously posted 2 Ingredient Bread is the simple recipe used for breakfast in biscuit form. Divide the dough into a dozen drop biscuits for delicious, tender, and crusty biscuits.  They may not be as pretty as the traditional rolled and cut biscuits, but this is so quick and tasty.  To make flat bread in the same way, simply flatten out the pulled pieces.

2 Ingredient Biscuits

1 cup whole fat Greek yogurt

1 cup self-rising flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper. Put flour into a large mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center and add yogurt.  With your hands, begin gently pulling some of the flour over into the yogurt, repeating until the 2 ingredients are a shaggy dough you can shape into a ball.. Knead gently and pull off pieces to place on the baking sheet.  This will make 9 -12 small biscuits or 6 large ones.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until turning golden brown.

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