Monday, November 23, 2015

Lemon Caper Risotto

I am always on the lookout for a good side to dress up our Sunday Dinner spread and I recently came across this delicious addition!  The perfect combination of salty, sweet, and tart...add this to your Thanksgiving feast and you will certainly have a table full of happy eaters!

Lemon Caper Risotto

2 quart chicken stock
2 cups water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small to medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
2 cup Arborio rice
Zest of 1
1 cup sherry wine
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese, a couple of handfuls
1/2 cup grated Parmigano Reggiano
2 tablespoons capers
A handful basil tops, shredded or torn
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot, heat the stock and 2 cups water over medium low heat.

In a risotto pot or large skillet with a rounded bottom, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic to pan and saute to soften 3 to 4 minutes 
Stir in the rice and add the zest of 1 lemon. Heat the rice for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook until evaporated. 
Add in the hot stock, a few ladles at a time, and stir for a minute with each addition, 
to develop the starch and the creamy aspect. 
Total cooking time will be about 18 minutes or so. Keep adding stock each time the pan starts to become dry at the edges. While the rice cooks, peel and supreme or section the flesh of a lemon and finely chop. Sprinkle with a 1/2 teaspoon sugar. When rice is cooked to al dente, stir in the butter, lemon sections, juice of 1 lemon, the cheese and herbs
Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately.
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Monday, September 28, 2015

Roasted Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Bruschetta

Clearly I am on an appetizer kick these days but will fall in the air and football on the TV, I can't help but want to try as many of these tasty recipes as possible. This one was found by my ever recipe researching sister-in-law and it was a hit! 

Roasted Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Bruschetta
Original recipe from

For the roasted tomatoes:
1 pound Roma tomatoes (about 5 medium tomatoes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, halved
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 medium dried bay leaf, crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the bread:
8 ounces crusty Italian bread, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium garlic clove
To assemble:
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into very thin slices
Kosher salt
6 to 8 medium, fresh basil leaves

For the roasted tomatoes:

Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Slice 1/8 inch off both the top and bottom of the tomatoes. Stand each tomato on one end and slice downward, following the curve and cutting just into the flesh, leaving behind the seeds (the pieces you cut off will resemble petals). Discard the seeds and pulpy portion.
Combine the tomato petals with the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Spread the tomato petals, cut-side down, on a baking sheet spaced about 1/2 inch apart. Pour the remaining contents of the bowl over the tomatoes.
Roast the tomatoes until they’re shriveled and dark red but still hold their shape, about 45 to 50 minutes. (If you have larger tomatoes, they may take longer.) Cool on the baking sheet. Remove and discard the garlic, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf pieces. Using a spatula, transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board and chop into small dice. Set aside at room temperature while you prepare the bread.

For the bread:
Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high (about 375°F to 425°F).
Meanwhile, arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Using 1 tablespoon of the oil, very lightly brush the tops of the bread with the oil. Flip the slices over and brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Generously season one side only with salt and pepper.
Place the bread on the grill (reserve the baking sheet) and cook until grill marks appear and the bread is toasted and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Return the grilled bread to the reserved baking sheet, seasoned-side up, and rub the seasoned sides with the garlic clove.

To assemble:
While the grilled bread pieces are still warm, divide the mozzarella slices among them and season lightly with salt. Divide the roasted tomatoes evenly over the mozzarella. Tear the basil leaves into bite-size pieces and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Cut the bruschetta into pieces if desired and serve.
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Monday, August 24, 2015

Mexican Corn Dip

Some people have asked me before what is so special about Sunday Dinner that makes it a staple of the week for my family and the answer is's the company.  It's the friends who are more like family.  It's the time to come together and laugh, discuss, and poke fun at one another!  This Sunday was a perfect example of what Sunday Dinner is all about.  Some of our dearest friends, and fellow foodies, joined us for one of our favorite menus....London broil, roasted potatoes and an eclectic salad.  With a delicious, yet pretty standard, meal ahead, Matt and Jason were tasked with the appetizer and like always they did not disappoint!

Standing around the island in the kitchen we had the best time enjoying each others company as we made a group effort of bringing this dip to fruition.

Mexican Corn Dip
as adapted from Damn Delicious

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ears corn, shucked and rinsed
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon chili powder, or more, to taste
1 clove garlic, pressed
Juice of 1 lime

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add corn kernels and jalapeño, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and slightly charred, about 8-10 minutes.
Stir in mayonnaise, parmesan, cilantro, chili powder, garlic and lime juice.
Serve immediately. 

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Salami, Olive and Cream Cheese Pinwheels

Nothing makes me happier than getting to a party and seeing a beautiful meat and cheese tray on the dining room table!  Of course the company, the cocktails....they are all nice but lets get my mind the food is always the centerpiece of the event!

For Sunday Dinner we are typically not going to have a beautiful spread garnished with rosemary and grapes, lined with spiced nuts, jams and artisan crackers BUT I will throw it all on tortilla, roll it up, and call it a pinwheel!

Salami, Olive and Cream Cheese Pinwheels
recipe from I Wash...You Dry

1 large tortilla or wrap, flavored or plain
2 tbsp chive and onion flavored cream cheese (you can use plain if you prefer)
8 thin slices of salami
2 tbsp chopped black olives
¼ cup baby spinach leaves

Spread the cream cheese spread evenly over the wrap or tortilla.
Sprinkle with the chopped olives, lay the salami over the olives, and then cover with the spinach leaves.
Start at one end and tightly roll the wrap into a long tube. Use a sharp knife to cut into 1 inch pieces.

Note: Can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to serve.
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Monday, July 6, 2015

Quick Pasta with Shrimp, Green Olive, Orange & Baby Arugula

This time of year I am more in the mood for something light and fresh than a thick heavy cream sauce but, and this will come as no surprise to anyone, I still cannot give up pasta.  That carb-loading temptress!  I just can't quite pasta!
So instead of trying to swim against the current, I simply adjust what I add to that starchy devil!  This is a great spring and summer salad that satisfies all of my cravings!

Quick Pasta with Shrimp, Green Olive, 

Orange & Baby Arugula

original recipe from the blog My Life as a Mrs

For the Vinaigrette:

1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice (about the juice of 1 orange)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

For the Pasta:

1 pound pasta of choice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 shallot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 pound pasta of choice

For Assembly:

7 ounces pitted green olives, drained
4 ounces baby arugula
2 oranges, segmented

Tip to allow this meal to come together quickly and seamlessly: Prep everything in advance/while water is coming to a boil (garlic minced, shallots chopped, vinaigrette made, and pasta ingredients in large bowl - arugula, segmented oranges, and olives). Once the water is boiling, add your pasta and then immediately begin cooking the shrimp portion. The shrimp cooks quickly so everything should finish up right around the same time so you can just toss and serve!

For the Vinaigrette:

Add all ingredients to a glass measuring cup (or other container) and whisk until well combined. Set aside until ready to use.

For the Pasta:

In a large pot, bring salted (always add a teaspoon or 2 of salt to your pasta water!) water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package instructions, stirring occasionally, drain when cooked to tender but firm.

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chopped shallots and garlic and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the pan and stir until mixed in with the shallots and garlic. Add white wine to the pan and saute for 2 to 3 minutes (until the shrimp are pink and cooked through).

To Assemble:

Add cooked pasta & shrimp to a large bowl and add the baby arugula, orange segments, olives, and vinaigrette. Gently toss to combine and allow arugula to start to wilt. Portion into pasta bowls and serve with a tiny pinch of sea salt on top. Serve immediately.
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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Vietnamese-Style Skirt Steak with Asparagus and Scallions

My family has recently become a huge fan of the skirt steak.  It all started with one recipe that didn't call for much of a marinade and the cooking method was simple so when the outcome was the most flavorful steak we had ever consumed we realized that did not come from anything but the cut of meat itself.

Not to mention, it is half the price of a filet!

After our first ah-hah moment with the delectable cut of meat, we thought we would give it a go with some different recipes.  This one came from the Tennessean and was perfectly delicious!  Served with a cauliflower puree and a caprese salad it was the perfect summer meal!

Vietnamese-Style Skirt Steak 
with Asparagus and Scallions

3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons brown sugar 
1 lb. skirt steak
1 large bunch thin asparagus, trimmed
2 bunches scallions, bottoms trimmed
Sunflower or canola oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

In a large ziplock plastic bag, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar.  Taste for seasoning, adding more sugar or lime juice if it is too salty.  Place the skirt steak in the marinade making sure it is completely covered.  Seal the bag and set aside on the counter for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the steak from the marinade and place on a paper towel lined plate to remove excess marinade.  
Meanwhile, prepare a grill for direct medium-high heat.

Toss the asparagus and scallions with the oil and salt and pepper.  Set aside.  

Using and oil-soaked paper towel held with tongs, oil the grill grate.  Set the grill on the grate and grill for 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak, until a good charred crust develops on the underside.  Flip and cook another 2 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak reads 125 degrees.  We didn't want to mess with the grill so we decided to cook it in the cast iron skillet and the outcome was delicious!  First we heated the skillet over medium high heat, added oil to the pan and then placed the steak in the hot skillet.  Cooking time was the same as it would have been per side on the grill.  
Transfer the steak to a warm plate, tent lightly with foil and let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes.  

Meanwhile, place the asparagus and scallions on the grill and cook the scallions for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly wilted, and the asparagus for 5 to 7 minutes, or until very lightly browned.  
Again, we didn't want to mess with the grill so I roasted the vegetables in the oven until they reached the desired doneness.
Slice the steak across the grain and serve over the grilled vegetables with a 
fresh squeeze of lime juice if desired.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Strawberry Jam

This time of year in middle Tennessee the sweet scent of fresh strawberries permeates the air. People flock to the flat bead trucks that sit road side with pints full of the sweet fruit. Their season is short, sweet, and delicious! There is no sweeter flavor than that of a freshly picked middle Tennessee strawberry!

With that being said it is my strong desire to keep the taste of the scrumptious delights in my pantry for at least a few months past the short picking season. This year I decided try my hand at some strawberry jam. I have made jellies in the past with about a 40% success rate when it comes to using pectin so when I saw this recipe that did not require the finicky ingredient I thought it might solve improve my chances of success!

Strawberry Jam

2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled
4 cups white sugar 
1/4 cup lemon juice

Hint: easy way to hull the strawberries is to use a straw, push through the bottom of the strawberry and the stem will pop right off!
In a wide bowl, crush strawberries in batches until you have 4 cups of mashed berry. 
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. 
Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F (105 degrees C). 
Transfer to hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch headspace, and seal. 
Process in a water bath. 
If the jam is going to be eaten right away, don't bother with processing, and just refrigerate. 
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuna London Broil with Wasabi Cream Sauce

This recipe originated, to the best of my knowledge, from the Tennessean right here in Nashville but it came to me through a family friend.  As always, I am on the "it's almost summer and I have to be in a bathing suit soon" diet so fish it is, fish it will be for the next few weeks!

I must admit, tuna is not one of my favorites but I think this comes from the fact that I often times over cook it so it is dry and not so yummers!

I decided, for the first time in my life, I would follow the cooking instructions explicitly so naturally I asked my brother to do the grilling.  Hey, I know my weaknesses, what can I say?!

It's amazing how delicious tuna can e when you actually acknowledge and follow the instructions provide!

Tuna London Broil 
with Wasabi Cream Sauce

For the Tuna and Rub:
2 teaspoons untoasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons wasabi powder
2 teaspoons cracked black peppercorns
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 1/2 pounds tuna (about 4 steaks, each about 1-1 1/2 inches thick and 6-8 ounces)
2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil

For serving:
Wasabi cream sauce (recipe below)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens or chives
2 tablespoons toasted or black sesame seeds (see note)

Make the rub.  Place the untoasted sesame seeds, wasabi powder, peppercorns and garlic salt in a spice mill or coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.  Or place them in a mortar and, using a pestle, grind them to a fine powder.
Trim any skin or dark bloody spots off the tuna.  Rinse the tuna under cold running water, then blot it dry with paper towels.  Place the tuna in a baking dish.  Sprinkle the run on all over the tuna on both sides, patting it onto the fish with your finger tips.  Drizzle the sesame oil over the tina and rub it on with your fingertips.  Let the tuna marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 30 minutes to an hour.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

When ready to cook brush and oil the grill grate.  Place the tuna on the hot grate and grill until cooked to taste.  Grill tuna fillet until the outside is nicely seared, 1 to 2 minutes per side (4 to 8 minutes in all) turning he fillets with tongs.  Grill tuna steaks for about 2 minutes per side for rare; 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare; 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium; rotating each steak a quarter turn halfway through grilling each side to create an attractive crosshatch of grill marks.  Test for doneness using the poke method: rare tuna will be quite soft, with just a little resistance at the surface; medium-rare tuna will be gently yielding; and medium will be firm.
Transfer the grilled tuna to a cutting board and let rest for 2 minutes.  Carve tuna steaks into road, thin slices, holding the knife at a 45 degree angle to the top of the fish.  Carve tuna fillet crosswise into 1/4-inch thick medallions.  Fan out the tuna slices on a platter or plates.  Top with wasabi cream sauce and garnish with scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

Wasabi Cream Sauce:
1 to 2 tablespoons wasabi powder
1/2 cup Hellman's mayonaise
1/2 cup sour crea
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Place the wasabi in a non-reactive mixing bowl.  Add 1 tablespoon of cold water and stir to form a thick paste.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice and soy sauce, and whisk to mix.  The mixture should be thick but pourable.  If necessary, thin with a little more water.  Although the wasabi cream tastes best served within a few hours of making, it can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Roasted Balsamic Potatoes, Onions and Broccoli

You know what I love about cooking anything in a foil packet?  The clean up!  Actually there are a bunch of reasons that I love cooking with foil....the flavors blend so evenly, the steam brings out the natural deliciousness in it all and the foils provides a great crust on most everything.

But really, that clean up is awesome!

This was one of those side recipes I found that seemed right up my alley...early prep...time spent with friends over wine instead of in the kitchen over a hot stove and delicious side that tastes like it should have come from a restaurant!

Again I say....I love the foil packet!

Roasted Balsamic Potatoes, Onions and Broccoli
2 lbs Baby White Potatoes, do not peel, cut in half
1 vidalia onion, peeled, cut into ¾ inch wedges
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp garlic salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
handful of broccoli florets

Preheat grill to 400°F.

Make a foil packet that is large enough to contain all of the vegetables. In a bowl, add the potatoes and onions and toss to coat with oil, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. 
Tightly close the foil packet so that no steam will escape and roast on the grill for 30 minutes. Increase the heat to 450°F. Continue to roast, tossing occasionally for 30 to 40 minutes, or until vegetables are browned and potatoes are crisp.
The last 20 minutes of baking, toss in a handful of broccoli florets. 
Don’t cook the broccoli too long; it should remain “crisp.”
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon

Trying to ween myself away from potatoes and pasta can be somewhat of a daunting task so in the hope that perhaps Sunday dinner could be a little more healthy, I reached out to my sister-in-law (aka my partner in crime especially when it comes to wine and pasta) to see what she had tucked away in her arsenal of recipes.

She came back with this one and to quote my brother when we poured the marinade into a ziplock back, "I want to zip my head up in there it smells so good"!

Needless to say the family liked it!

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon
From the blog How Sweet It Is

1 1/2 pounds raw salmon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
4 green onions, sliced

sesame ginger honey glaze

1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack over top. 
Spray the rack with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl or baking dish, combine olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar, brown sugar and whisk well until combined. Add salmon to the dish or place everything in a ziplock bag, then refrigerate and marinate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the broiler in your oven. (Or preheat your grill, etc if you prefer to use something else.)

Remove salmon with kitchen tongs and place directly on the wire rack. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper, then place directly under the broiler. Cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on the salmon's thickness (our's was just about an inch thick), until opaque and easily flakable with a fork. You can flip the salmon halfway through cooking if desired.
Remove and serve immediately, with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds, 
green onions and the glaze below.

sesame ginger honey glaze:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour over salmon.
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