Friday, December 3, 2010

Pomegranate Martini

"A perfect balance of sweet and tart, and blushed with color.  Bring out the seasonal joy of fresh pomegranates with a garnish of fresh ruby-red seeds."

superfine sugar
1 lemon wedge
2 ounces (1/4 cup) citrus vodka
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) pomegranate juice
1/4 ounce (1 1/2 teaspoons) fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grenadine
6 pomegranate seeds
lemon twist

Spread a little superfine sugar on a small saucer.  Rub the rim of the martini glass with the lemon wedge,

and then invert the glass onto the sugar to coat the rim.  Discard the wedge.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the vodka, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and grenadine.  Cover, shake vigorously,

and then strain into the prepared glass. 

Garnish with the pomegranate seeds and lemon twist.

Serves 1

My Review

The perfect holiday liquid refreshment!  This festive bev would be a fun addition to your holiday get-togethers this season.  Easy to make and easy to drink...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Peasant Soup

"Something I make on a long dark afternoon to chase autumnal blues away.  It's simple and endlessly variable.  You could put whatever you have hanging around in it."

1 onion, chopped
About 3 tablespoons of olive oil
A few cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cups of chopped kale
1 quart of vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup of white wine
2 cups of cooked or drained canned cannellini beans
1/2-1 cup of grated Parmesan

Begin, as always, with the onion, oil and garlic in a heavy, bottomed pan.  Cook on low for about 5 minutes.  

Add the carrot, celery and kale and stir for another 3 minutes or so. 

Pour on the stock if it gets sticky before then, otherwise, add it at this stage along with the wine.  Simmer on low for 20 minutes and then add the beans.

Simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the Parmesan.  Fish out the garlic at the end just before serving.  You can make this as thick or thin as you want; go by instinct and taste, adding or taking away as you want.

Serves 4-6

My Review

Ok, I confess...  I bought another cookbook!  I could not resist this one from Sophie Dahl (author, Roald Dahl's granddaughter).  This beautiful cookbook is filled with gorgeous photos and stories from Sophie.  Organized by seasons, this recipe is from the chapter, autumn suppers.  I could look at this book all day and dream. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spinach Frittata

"Since the ingredients in this recipe are ones you may well have on hand, this Italian-style omelet makes for an easy supper."

1 t olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups baby spinach leaves
3 whole eggs, plus 4 egg whites
3/4 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
2 waxy red or white potatoes, peeled and shredded
2 T julienned fresh basil
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella or provolone cheese

Preheat the broiler.  Position the rack 4 inches from the heat source.

In a large, nonstick frying pan with a flameproof handle, heat 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and saute until softened, about 1 minute.

Stir in the spinach and cook until it wilts, 1-2 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl.  Set the frying pan aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the whole eggs and egg whites.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper.  Set aside.

Return the pan to medium heat and heat the remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.  Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the bell pepper...

and the potatoes and cook until the potatoes begin to brown but are still tender-crisp, 2-3 minutes.  Spread the potatoes in an even layer in the pan. 

Spread the spinach evenly over the potatoes.

Sprinkle with the basil.  Pour in the beaten eggs and sprinkle evenly with the cheese.

Cook until slightly set, about 2 minutes.

Carefully place the pan under the broiler the broil until the frittata is brown and puffy and completely set, about 3 minutes.  Gently slide onto a warmed serving platter and cut into wedges.  Serve immediately. 

Serves 4

My Review

This is a great frittata recipe...  hearty enough for dinner and filled with scrumptious flavors.  So easy and so versatile.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Grilled Salmon with North African Flavors

"This version of the classic North African herb paste know as chermoula serves as both a marinade and a sauce for this richly flavored salmon.  If it is too cool to grill outdoors, you can roast the salmon at 450 F for 12 to 15 minutes."

1/4 cup low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 T lemon juice
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 t paprika
1 t ground cumin
1/4 t salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, cut into 4 portions
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Stir together yogurt,



lemon juice,





and salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Reserve 1/4 cup for sauce; cover and refrigerate. 

Place salmon fillets in a large sealable plastic bag.  Pour the remaining herb mixture, seal the bag and turn to coat.  Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the bag over once.

Remove the salmon from the marinade, blotting any excess.  Grill (or roast in the oven) until browned and opaque in the center, 4 to 6 minutes per side.

To serve, top each piece with a dollop of the reserved sauce and garnish with lemon wedges.

My Review

This sauce is simply superb!  I didn't get enough.  Next time I will triple the sauce recipe and mix it into the couscous.  Fresh, fast and flavorful!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Farro Salad with Tomatoes and Herbs

"Farro is a type of wheat that was an important component of the Roman Empire's diet, but it fell somewhat out of favor when more refined wheat products became plentiful in Italy...  Farro is available in Italian markets and gourmet grocery stores, but brown rice or barley could also be used in this recipe."

10 ounces farro (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 1/4 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium-sized tomatoes, seeded and chopped (I used 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved)
1/2 medium-size sweet onion (such as Walla Walla), finely chopped
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

I followed cooking directions of the back of the package...

In a medium saucepan, combine 4 cups water and farro.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the farro is almost tender, about 20 minutes.  Add 2 teaspoons of salt and simmer until the farro is tender, about 10 minutes longer. 

Drain well, then transfer to a large bowl and let cool.

In a medium bowl, mash the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon of salt to make a paste.

Whisk in the vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper...

... then the oil.

(Homegrown cherry tomatoes!)

Add the tomatoes...



and the parsley to the farro and toss to combine.  Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss to coat.  Season the salad with more salt and pepper to taste.  (This salad can be made 1 day ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature before serving.)

4 side-dish servings

My Review

Farro is much like buckwheat or wheat berries... wholesome and chewy.  This particular farro is grown here in Washington and has 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving.  This dish has traditional Italian flavors and was a nice filling side to my roasted chicken.