Monday, July 28, 2014

The Very Best Caprese Salad


You know when you think you have a dish down and there is no possible way to make it better but then someone comes along and knocks it out the park?  Well, dear readers, that is what happened last night at Sunday Dinner.

My family loves nothing more than including some of our dearest friends in our family tradition.  Old friends, new friends, friends of friends....bring 'em all, we love the company!

This weekend, my loves, Jason and Matt, joined us for dinner which always makes for some side busting laughter, exquisite music coming from the piano, and lots of delicious dining choices.  

With the tomatoes so divine this time of year we thought we would go for round two on the caprese salad even though we just had it last weekend with a reduced balsamic glaze.  I kind of figure, "why mess with success", we could just do that same recipe this week, but alas, Matt had a better idea.

He had tried a recipe that gave a twist to the old favorite and took our caprese salad to a whole new level.  With plans of it being a side for dinner, no one could wait that long, and we ended up devouring it long before we sat down to the table!

Matt's Caprese Salad
5 large tomatos
1 log of fresh mozzarella salad
1/2 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 pieces of bacon, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella and lay on a platter, tomato-mozzarella-tomato-mozzarella, etc.

Cut the pieces of bacon into bite-size bits.  In a cast-ironed skillet, brown the bacon.  
Once it is to the desired doneness, drain away all but 2 teaspoons of the bacon grease.  Leaving the bacon in the skillet, add the vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper and let simmer.  
Sprinkle the tomatoes and mozzarella with coarse salt and pepper along with the fresh basil, then pour the bacon/vinegar/olive oil mixture over the salad.  
Serve immediately.
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Spicy Puffs

I love it when my friends come with recipes they want try!  There is something about making something with the people I love that warms my heart!  It doesn't hurt when the recipe that they bring is absolutely phenomenal. 

With the jalapeno peppers ripe in the garden, this recipe came to me at the perfect time!

Spicy Puffs

Crescent Rolls
Cream Cheese, room temperature
Jalapeno peppers, minced

Roll out the crescent rolls separating each from the other.  
To the wide end, add a dolup (yes, that's a technical term) of cream cheese, top with about a teaspoon of minced jalapenos, roll up.
Bake according to the crescent roll instructions.
Serve warm.  

There you have it friends, a simple, easy appetizer that will send your guests back for more!

You can also mess around with the filling ingredients.  We added pepperonis to some, you could do onions, mushrooms, pretty much any pizza topping would be delicious as well!

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Shrimp Scampi

It's a rare moment in time when I will say something has too much butter in it but when I see shrimp scampi on the menu at restaurants that is the first thought that comes to mind.  It always just seems like the poor little shrimps simply drowned in a ramekin of melted butter.

For that reason I have typically steered clear of the dish until my dad found this recipe that called for a little butter but also lemon juice and olive oil for the saucy goodness.

I'll give anything a try once and I am sure glad I did because this might be the reason I am now a "Shrimp Scampi Convert"!

Shrimp Scampi

1 pound angel hair pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lemon, juiced, plus 1/2 lemon, zested
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves

Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling salted water, over medium heat, and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Once shimmering and hot, add the shrimp and saute until just cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. 
Remove to a plate and reserve. 
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet, then saute until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. 
Add the lemon juice and white wine and raise the heat to high. Let the liquid reduce for 2 to 3 minutes. 
Whisk in the butter, add a ladleful of the pasta cooking water and return the shrimp. 
Remove from the heat. 
 Drain pasta in a colander, and add it to the skillet along with the chopped parsley and toss. 
Add the lemon zest and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, to taste. 
Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.
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