From The Vine

A Taste of Summer – Recipes

These sloppy joes are homemade and so delicious you may never open a can of pre-made sloppy joe sauce again! I like things a little spicy and bold so I double or triple the spices. Serve with Tomato Corn Salad. I like it served at room temperature. If you don’t have white balsamic vinegar go buy it! Substituting something else won’t work as well. It really does have a unique flavor. For dessert chill cut up watermelon and cantaloupe. My dad puts a little salt and pepper on his cantaloupe. I thought that was crazy until I tried it!

Not-So-Sloppy Joes

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion (finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 red bell pepper (finely chopped)
1 pound ground beef
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
4 hamburger buns (toasted)
1/2 cup grated Cheddar
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper. Sauté until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the ground beef and brown, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cinnamon. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 12 minutes.
4. Spoon onto the buns. Sprinkle each with the Cheddar and top with a dollop of the sour cream.

Tomato-corn salad

Makes 4 cups

4 ears of corn
2 tsp Olive oil
1 pt grape or cherry tomatoes
3 green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Brush corn with oil. Grilled, covered with grill lid over med-high heat for 8 minutes turning very 2 minutes or until done. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut from cob. Combine corn, tomatoes, and all other ingredients. Turn to coat. Good served immediately at room temperature or chill before serving

Cold watermelon and cantaloupe

Meal two this week is Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic Chicken. I don’t think there are many things that go together better than rosemary and chicken! This dish is simple and while it is cooking you can prepare Provincial Tomatoes. While the chicken rest, before you serve it, you can slip the tomatoes in the oven. Serve Pear Tarts for dessert. One thing I might suggest to make this dessert easier and stress free is to buy refrigerator pie crust instead of making it from scratch. Is that cheating? Maybe, but sometimes it’s necessary to maintain your sanity and still serve great meals.

Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic Chicken

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (plus one 4-inch sprig)
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
zest from 1/2 lemon (grated)
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lemon (halved)
1 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken (giblets removed)

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 450° F. Combine 1 tablespoon of the oil, chopped rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.
2. Use your fingers to carefully loosen the skin from the breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. Spread the mixture evenly under the skin. Rub the remaining tablespoon of oil over the skin. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place the lemon halves, rosemary sprig, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt inside the cavity.
3. Place a rack in a large ovenproof skillet or small roasting pan. Place the chicken in the pan. Tuck the wings beneath the chicken, as if it were placing its arms behind its head. Roast for 20 minutes. Add 1 cup water and roast until the chicken is cooked through and the thigh meat registers 180° F on a meat thermometer, about 40 minutes more.
4. Use a spatula to loosen the chicken. With a wad of paper towels in each hand, transfer the bird to a cutting board. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Provincial Tomatoes

2 large tomatoes (cut into 1/4 inch slices)
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 tablespoon olive oil (or as needed)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons dried parsley

1. Preheat your oven’s broiler.
2. Place tomato slices in a single layer on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, season with a little salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Mix together the Parmesan cheese, Asiago cheese, bread crumbs and parsley; sprinkle over the tomato slices. Drizzle a little bit more olive oil over the top.
3. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the top is golden and toasty.

Pear Tartlets

Servings: 12

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
8 (- 9 tablespoons ice water)
4 Comice or Bartlett pears, peeled, halved (cored and thinly sliced)
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Salt

In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt. Cut butter into pieces. With a pastry blender or your fingertips, work butter into flour mixture until texture of coarse meal.
Gradually add ice water, tossing with a fork, until mixture begins to hold together. Gather dough together and divide in half. Flatten into two discs, wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
On lightly floured surface, roll out one pastry disc to 1?4-inch thickness. Using a 3-1/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 6 circles of dough, rerolling as needed. Transfer rounds to an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough for a total of 12 circles.
Heat oven to 425 Degrees F.
Gently toss pear slices, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the flour, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Arrange 6 pear slices on each round, fanning out and overlapping slightly. Evenly sprinkle tartlets with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden and pears are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Summer is about half over and the kids are getting ready to head back to school! Lets take advantage of the great weather to head to the grill!

Our first meal this week is Kafta, a Lebanese dish. Try this prepared and cooked on the skewers as stated in the recipe served in pita topped with Tzatziki sauce, or make traditional shaped hamburgers served with lettuce and tomato. I like a lot of flavor so I added about double the spices called for. You could even add a 1/2 teaspoon or so of cinnamon or garam masala. Serve with Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables. Go easy on the Harissa or spiced chili oil if you don’t like things too spicy!

Kafta (BBQ)

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion (grated)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 wooden or metal skewers

1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. If using wooden skewers, soak in water.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, onion, parsley, cayenne, allspice, salt and pepper until evenly blended. Divide into 6 portions, and press around one end of the skewers to form a log shape approximately 1 inch thick and 6 inches long.
3. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until meat is no longer pink.

Tzatziki Sauce

2 (8 ounce) containers plain yogurt
2 cucumbers – peeled (seeded and diced)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lemon (juiced)
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
3 cloves garlic (peeled)

1. In a food processor or blender, combine yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill and garlic. Process until well-combined. Transfer to a separate dish, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour for best flavor.

Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables

2 cups couscous
6 zucchini and/or yellow squash (about 2 1⁄2 pounds total) (sliced 1⁄4 inch thick)
1 quart cherry tomatoes
2 bunches scallions (trimmed)
1/2 cup olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
Spiced Chili Oil or store-bought harissa (North African chili sauce (found in the international aisle))

1. Prepare the couscous according to the package directions. Meanwhile, heat grill to medium. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, and scallions with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.
2. Working in batches if necessary, grill the vegetables, covered, turning occasionally, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes for the eggplant and squash and 1 to 2 minutes for the tomatoes and scallions. Serve with the couscous and Harissa or Spiced Chili Oil, for drizzling.

Our second meal is easy grilled Italian sausage and a marinated tomato salad. Complete this meal with grilled corn on the cob, macaroni or potato salad, or even baked beans.

Grilled Italian Sausage with Marinated Tomatoes

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 vine-ripened tomatoes (each cut into 6 slices)
1/3 red onion (thinly sliced)
6 (4 ounce) mild Italian sausage links
6 French rolls (halved lengthwise)

1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat.
2. Whisk together red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and olive oil in a small bowl. Arrange the tomato and onion slices on a serving platter, and pour dressing overtop. Allow to marinate at room temperature while you cook the sausages.
3. Pierce the sausages with the tip of a sharp knife a few times, then place onto the grill. Cook until no longer pink in the center, turning them frequently so that they cook evenly and have lightly browned, about 15 minutes total. Serve on French rolls with marinated tomatoes and onions.

Our Sunday tradition is to go to early service at church then head home for breakfast. Usually we have pancakes and delicious Geary Farms bacon! This week I think we will switch it up a bit and have French toast instead. Summer peaches will give this dish a great fresh flavor!

Peach French Toast

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 ripe yellow peaches (cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup heavy cream
8 slices white or sourdough bread or brioche
3 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
confectioners’ sugar

1. In a large skillet, over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter until it foams. Add the brown sugar and stir for 30 seconds. Add the peaches, raise heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the cream and simmer for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Heat oven to 200° F. Place 4 slices of the bread on a cutting board. Divide the peach mixture evenly among the slices, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Top with another slice of bread and press gently.
3. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs and cinnamon. Working in batches, soak the sandwiches in the egg mixture for 2 minutes per side.
4. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry 2 sandwiches until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining butter and sandwiches.
5. Beat the remaining cream until soft peaks form. Halve each sandwich on the diagonal, sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar, and serve with the whipped cream.

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