Monday, June 29, 2009

Morir Soñando

This drink from the Dominican Republic is very refreshing during a hot summer day. It is sweet, filling and nourishing. A Latino version of the Orange Julius, if you will : )

2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
2 cups milk (I like whole, because it tastes richer, but skim is fine as well)
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Lots of crushed ice!

Option 1:

Mix sugar, milk and vanilla until sugar has incorporated into liquid. Add orange juice and whisk. Pour over ice and serve with a a straw!

Option 2:

Follow steps from option 1, but add to blender and mix until smooth.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Early Summer Berry-Rhubarb Pie

Growing up with a rather over sized rhubarb tree (bush? plant?) and wild strawberries, blueberries and raspberries near our home in the country, my mother prepared some beautiful and delicious pies, crisps and assorted desserts for my family. I love the sweet and tart combination found in rhubarb-berry pies. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Pie crust (for top and bottom of 9 inch round pie)
1 1/2 pounds trimmed rhubarb
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup sliced strawberries

Cut rhubarb into 1/2 inch chunks.

In large sauce pan, stir rhubarb, 1 cup sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and stir over medium-low heat until sugar has melted. While this is cooking, stir lemon juice and corn starch together until dissolved. In a small bowl stir together cornstarch and lemon juice. Add cornstarch-lemon juice to rhubarb and cook until thickened, stirring often, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Add berries to rhubarb mixture and refrigerate 30 minutes, covered.

Preheat oven to 400.

Press dough into 9 inch pie dish. Spoon filling over crust. Drape remaining pastry round over filling and trim so that dough overlaps the edges slightly (about 1/2 inch, as crust will shrink when cooking). Pinch crust together with bottom and crimp to decorate if desired. Score pie on top with small knife.

Bake pie in middle of oven 40 minutes, with baking sheet on lower rack to catch any filling spills, until pie crust is just lightly golden brown.

Transfer pie to a cookie rack to cool. Let rest a minimum of 30 minutes to let filling set.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Happy Eating,


Monday, June 22, 2009

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Chicken over Spinach-Dill Rice, with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

I have been a little uninspired lately with my cooking, so I wanted to try something new. Greek is a cuisine that I have little experience cooking but intrigues me. Greek foodies: ANY comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated! : )

This recipe looks complicated, but each
step takes about ten minutes to complete. The chicken can be marinated & stuffed the night before serving or earlier that day. The cucumber-yogurt sauce can be prepared up to 2 days before serving. This serves about 3-4 people.

For Chicken Marinade:

2 lbs chicken drumsticks (about 6)

1/2 lemon, juiced
12 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup EVOO (8 tablespoons)
1/4 cup dry white wine

3 cloves chopped garlic
Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chicken stock (reserved for cooking)

Rinse chicken with water and pat dry
with a paper towel. In a shallow baking dish, drizzle olive oil, lemon juice and white wine over chicken.

Sprinkle garlic and olives over chicken and cover wit
h freshly ground black pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

For Spinach & Feta Stuffing:

1 cup chopped spinach (I used frozen chopped spinach for this recipe)
1 tablespoon minced dill
2 green onions

6 oz crumbled feta cheese

Remove chicken from marinade.

Heat up marinate in saute pan until simmering. Simmer until liquid is reduced (less than 1/4 cup liquid).

Add green onions and saute 1 minute.

Add spinach and cook 1 minute.

Mix in dill and feta cheese.

Remove from heat.

Carefully push cooled stuffing into each chicken

To Cook Chicken:

Heat oven to 350.

Pour 1 cup chicken broth into saute pan and bring to boil on high heat. Pour into 9 x 13 glass baking dish.

Place each chicken
drumstick stuffing-side up in baking dish.

Bake approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour (until juices run clear).

While chicken is roasting, prepare Spinach-Dill rice.

For Spinach-Dill Rice:

1 tablespoon EVOO 1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped spinach
1 tablespoon minced dill
1 1/2-2 cups chicken stock
1 cup of rice

Heat up 1 tablespoon olive oil in medium-sized sa
uce pot. Add onion and garlic and saute 5 minutes until onion is translucent.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Add rice and stir 1 minute.

Stir in dill, reduce heat to low and cook about 20
minutes, until liquid has evaporated, stirring very occasionally.

Stir in spinach and fluff to serve.

For Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce:

1 /2 cups Greek yogurt
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely di
1 minced garlic clove
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons EVOO

Stir ingredients together, cover and refriger
ate a minimum of 3 hours before serving.

Scoop rice over 3-4 dinner plates. Place 1 or 2 chicken drumsticks over rice. Carefully scoop cucumber-yogurt sauce over chicken and rice.

Happy Eating,


Friday, June 19, 2009

Shrimp, Red Pepper and Basil Pasta with Charred Zucchini

1 recipe Easy Red Pepper and Basil Pasta Sauce, a little fresh basil and parmesan cheese reserved for garnish
2 zucchini
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb large shrimp, de-veined and tails removed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 lb linguine pasta

Prepare pasta sauce according to directions. (This may be prepared the day before serving).

Marinate shrimp in 1 tablespoon olive oil, white wine, crushed red pepper and garlic.

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat large pot of salted water on high heat.

Wash zucchini. Slice in half lengthwise and cut each half into 4 chunks. Toss in 2 tablespoon olive oil and cook in oven 15 minutes, turning once. Turn oven to broil and cook about 5 minutes until vegetables are just beginning to char. When this happens, remove from oven.

While zucchini are roasting, boil linguine until al dente. Drain, and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

At the same time that pasta and zucchini are cooking, heat up large saute pan over medium high heat. Cook shrimp for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until they turn pink. Remove from heat.

Heat up pasta sauce until simmering. Toss noodles in pasta sauce.

Place pasta with sauce onto 4 large dinner plates. Divide charred zucchini amongst plates and top with cooked shrimp.

Garnish with reserved fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Raspberry Lemondrop Martini

To Make Lemonade:

1 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar

1 cup hot water
3 cups cold water

Mix hot water and sugar together until dissolved. Mix in lemon juice and water. Refrigerate.

To Make Cocktail:

Fresh raspberries
1 shot Stoli Raz
1 shot Chambord, optional (if not using Chambord, use 2 shots vodka)
4 oz freshly-squeezed lemonade

Shake lemonade and vodka in ice-filled cocktail mixer.

Press rim of martini glass onto plate of sugar.

Pour optional Chambord shot into martini glass.

Carefully pour lemonade mixture over Chambord.

Float 4-5 raspberries as in martini glass.

Garnish with lemon twist.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blueberry Muffins

6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/3 cup 2% milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 375.

Melt butter in covered medium-sized bowl in microwave (about 20-30 seconds). Whisk in milk, vanilla, egg, yolk and zest.

In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and baking powder. Mix wet mixture into flour until just incorporated.

Carefully fold blueberries into muffin batter.

Line muffin tin with 12 liners. Divide batter evenly between liners. Bake oven on the middle rack for about 18-20 minutes, or until muffins are beginning to turn golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean (no sticky dough).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Portuguese White Bean, Kale and Linguica Soup

1 lb pork and fennel sausage (linguica)
2 strips bacon, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large Vidalia onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 15 oz can cannellini beans

1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes

2 cups kale

Heat up olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add linguica and cook about 6 minutes, turning halfway through to brown both sides. Remove from pan and let cool (leave burner on).

Add onion, garlic and bacon chunks to pan. Saute for 5-7 minutes until onion is translucent. Add red pepper flakes and cook 1 additional minute.

Add tomatoes. Let mixture come to a boil, then let cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add cannellini beans and chicken broth. When soup comes to a boil, turn down so that it remains at a simmer.

Cook uncovered about 20 minutes, until beans are soft. While cooking, slice sausage into approximately 3/4 inch long chunks.

Add sausage chunks and kale. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until soup has thickened.

Serve with
crostini (Slice Italian bread, drizzle with olive oil then grill or cook in toaster oven).

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mojito Mania - Raspberry, Guava and Mango Mojitos

Ingredients for traditional Mojito:

1/2 shot simple syrup
1 1/2 oz white rum 1 oz fresh lime juice
8 mint leaves
1 splash seltzer

Muddle mint leaves with rum. In cocktail shaker, add rum, mint, ice, simple syrup and lime juice. Shake vigorously and pour into glass. Pour splash seltzer into cocktail shaker and mix around, then pour over mojito. Garnish with lime wedge.


Mango Mojito:

Use 2 oz mango flavored rum in place of white rum. Add a few pieces of diced mango when muddling.

Raspberry Mojito:

Add 10 raspberries to mint and rum. Muddle well, then finish like normal mojito.

Guava mojito:

Add 1 oz guava nectar and increase rum to 2 oz.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chipotle Shrimp and Cilantro-Avocado Cream Quesadillas

To make 4 quesadillas:

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 can black beans, rinsed well with water and drained
3 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 avocado, peeled, pit removed and cut into small chunks
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1 tomato, diced
8 large flour tortillas

Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil, spices, and salt in a large bowl. Add shrimp and mix to coat with spices.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in large saute pan. Add shrimp and cook 1 1/2-2 minutes on each side, until pink and cooked through. Remove from heat and let oil drain on paper towel.
Cut each shrimp into 4 pieces

Mash together sour cream, cream cheese, lime juice and avocado. Mix in cilantro.

Preheat oven to 350 (or heat grill if preferable).

Divide shrimp into 4 portions. Spread each portion over 1 quesadilla. Top each with 1/4 of the black beans and avocado cilantro cream. Top with another tortilla.

Bake or grill until golden. Slice each into 6 pieces and top with diced tomatoes.