Sunday, August 17, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Grilled peach salad with balsamic drizzle



It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again and my partner in crime for this month is Jenna over at Painted Apron.

Jenna is super creative. Her blog is full of great recipes, beautiful tablescapes and ideas for party planning and easy home decor. There are plenty of great dinner party ideas for me to check out...later. (You know, when I'm not two weeks away from getting married, later. When you're reading this, I will be on an airplane to California for the wedding. Sorry if I don't respond to comments promptly)

I normally love SRC post dates, but this month was more difficult than usual. It wasn't Jenna's fault. Her blog had some awesome recipes like this great Stuffed French Toast and these Magic Potatoes made with so much butter and cheese. The one I must wanted to make was her Breadstick Pizza Rosette because it looked so amazing.

And then I realized we were leaving on vacation for two weeks (for our wedding, followed by honeymoon). By the time I found time to make a recipe we were already in the "We ain't going to the grocery store for shit" stage. You know...the stage where you're eating dry cereal because you refuse to buy milk, and a large amount of your dinners consist of pasta and whatever veggies you have in the fridge. Wanna put an egg on it? What about cheese? All perishable foods must go until we're stuck eating takeout for 3 straight days before vacation.

Given the timing of this SRC, I think I did a pretty great job with this recipe for Prosciutto and Peach Salad. I made mine as a combination of two of her peach salads and I think I did a pretty good job keeping the spirit the same, given all of my self-imposed food restrictions.

It was a really tasty dinner. We had a duo of salads that night: peach salad and caprese salad because everything must go! Thanks for the great recipes Jenna. I promise I'll come back and make that pizza rosette after we get back from vacation.

Grilled Peach Salad

Ingredients
  • 2 ripe peaches (either yellow or white)
  • mixed greens (anything with arugula and frisee is always great)
  • almonds
  • salted italian meat (prosciutto or pancetta would be great. I used sopresatta)
  • lemon
  • olive oil
  • balsamic glaze (I used an English Toffee infused balsamic vinegar that was on sale at my local olive oil shop)
  • goat cheese (I didn't have this, but I would use it next time)
Directions
  1. Pit the peaches and grill them either outside or on your grill pan
  2. Sautee your sopresatta or chosen meat until slightly crispy
  3. Lightly dress your greens with a little olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Lay them down on the plate
  4. Top with grilled peaches, sopresatta, almonds and a little balsamic glaze. Eat immediately and enjoy



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant


I love my CSA box.

I get so many amazing vegetables every week that I would never think to buy on a regular basis. I mean, I would buy french beans, but I probably wouldn't get Indian eggplant when Japanese eggplant was an option.

Most of the time, I would have probably just chopped up this eggplant for curry or a stir fry. This time, that didn't happen. My CSA company sends an email every week with a recipe at the end to give you inspiration. This week, they sent out an adapted version of Smitten Kitchen's recipe for stuffed eggplant.

This was an absolutely delicious dish! The flavors all went so perfectly together and the eggplant was beautiful. The recipe I used was altered in order to fit what came in the box that week. I highly recommend you all try it.

Lebanese stuffed Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 12 indian eggplants (or 6 baby bell Italian eggplants)
  • 1/2 cup jasmine rice (rinsed, but uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb ground beef or lamb (uncooked)
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp chopped flat parsley
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Cut the bottom sliver off each eggplant and hallow out the eggplant with a melon baller, leaving about 1/3 inch eggplant flesh on all sides. Take the interior of the eggplant and roughly chop it.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in large skillet. Sautee onion and garlic until tender. Add the eggplant interior and cook until tender.
  3. Place half the onion mixture into a bowl with nuts, ground meat, rice, allspice, lemon, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Mix together.
  4. Leave the other half the onion mix in the skillet. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Simmer gently uncovered
  5. Stuff eggplants with the rice filling mixture. Filling will expand, so don't stuff it too tight.
  6. Place eggplants in the simmering sauce and simmer covered for about 45 minutes, turning halfway through. Cook until rice is cooked through.
  7. If necessary, remove eggplant and reduce sauce to desired consistency.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Fish Sauce Dressing


Vietnamese noodle bowls are a summertime staple in our house. This is the main thing I order at Vietnamese restaurants (even when everyone else is ordering pho). There aren't very many rules when you make it at home (this one had corn, because we had fresh white corn) but it always needs to have rice noodles, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, mint, basil and noum cham (citrus fish sauce dressing).

It's great for summer because it doesn't heat up your kitchen. It's light, very flavorful and refreshing. We love it and I hope you do too

Ingredients

  • rice noodles
  • desired lettuce
  • cucumber
  • carrots, seeded tomatoes, celery, or whatever you desire
  • chicken breast
  • cilantro
  • mint
  • basil
  • fish sauce
  • lime juice
  • palm sugar (or brown sugar, or cane sugar syrup)
  • sesame oil
  • warm water
  • thai chilis
  • garlic
Directions
  1. Begin by marinating the chicken in some fish sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. It doesn't have to be very long (half hour at most). Slice thin and cook quickly in a skillet. Set aside to cool.
  2. Next, make the noum cham sauce. Mix equal parts fish sauce, lime juice and sugar together. Dilute the sauce with some warm water and a touch of sesame oil until it's appropriate strength. Thinly slice one clove garlic and one thai chili to mix with the sauce.
  3. Julienne all your vegetables and begin by layering your lettuce at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Cook rice noodles until done and chill in ice water. Drain and place on top of your lettuce
  5. Top with your desired fresh vegetables, chicken and herbs
  6. Drizzle fish sauce dressing over the top. Toss all ingredients together and eat immediately.
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