Saturday, October 22, 2005

Spinach & Goat Cheese Pizza

Pizza seems like the perfect fall Friday night supper. The ingredients usually depend on what I have on hand and last night it was a lovely bunch of organic spinach. After rolling and spreading out a rectangle of prepared pizza dough on an oiled cookie sheet, I carmelized two sliced onions and added some mushrooms. Finally, I added the fresh spinach and tossed it in the onion/mushroom mixture for about 3 minutes. I then spread the mixture on the dough, added some herbs, black olives, dollops of goat cheese, a sprinkle of grated parmesan and baked it in a 450 degree oven until the crust was crispy. Delicious and quick!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pesto al Fresco

Today, a bunch of fresh basil that was part of the still life I was painting started to wilt. I realized that I should make use of it for dinner. Pesto came to mind, but I had a taste for a texture that was different. Here's what I came up with... and it was delicious! In a food proceessor, I did the usual by blending up cloves of garlic , a bunch of fresh basil, some pine nuts and olive oil to a pesto paste. I then cooked up some mezza ziti ( spaghetti length ziti) chopped some fresh tomatoes, and heated a small amount of goat cheese. When I assembled the pasta, I tossed it with the pesto, added a sprinkle of walnuts, surrounded it with the fresh tomatoes, and topped the dish with a dollop of warm goat cheese. It was superb...not your usual dense pesto but a layered combination of crunchy walnuts, juicy tomatoes, pasta coated with pesto and topped with warm goat cheese. It was exceptional.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Fall Cassoulet

This was a great combination of lowfat garlic/chicken sausage, fennel, and cannellini beans in a tomato and wine sauce. Perfect for a cool fall day... a good excuse to turn the oven on to take the chill off. In a cast iron pan, saute 3-4 garlic cloves with chicken and garlic sausage in olive oil until brown. Add a large quartered fennel bulb and brown, add 1 can diced tomatoes , a splash of red wine, majoram, basil, thyme and a stick of cinnamon ...cover and put in a 325 degree oven for 1/2 hour. Then gently stir in two cans cannellini or white northern beans. Turn heat down to 300 degrees and bake for another 1/2 hour or so. Serves 2-3 generously

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Salmon Supreme

Here's a great marinade for oven-roasting salmon:
roast three whole garlic bulbs drizzled with olive oil in the oven. In a blender put in roasted cloves, Key Lime juice (or fresh lemon juice), olive oil, Dijon mustard, and a tad of maple syrup. Blend until thick (there may still be some chunks of garlic which is all to the good). Line a baking pan with parchment paper, place filet on top, slather marinade on top, cover with saran wrap and put in refrigerator for the day. Remove saran wrap (don't remove marinade), sprinkle tarragon, pink peppercorns and dill on top... bake in 350 degree F oven until there is no resistance when poked with a fork. Remove from oven, grab hold of the parchment paper and slide the filet gently onto a platter ( the skin underneath will remain on the parchment paper) Serve with asparagus and a pilau of wild rice. Here's an easy lowfat sauce for fish and asparagus...take 3-4 TBS Dijon mustard, slowly whisk in Key Lime or lemon juice until creamy, add sugar to taste, top with dill.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Too hot to cook...

The hot weather has returned to Boston and who wants to cook? Here's a refreshing salad, with no fat and full of crunch. Combine sliced celery & cucumber, with videlia relish and canned salmon. Toss mixture with that creamy, thick non- fat Greek yoghurt ( FAGE is the brand) and season to taste. Heap the mixture on a large tomato cut into sections and lettuce, garnish with fresh dill.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A winning meal!

Started to get hungry during the Red Sox/ Yankees game and went for a quick fix. During a break, I hurriedly butterflied two boneless center cut pork chops and stuffed them with a layer of fig sauce, goat cheese and roasted pine nuts, sprinkled them with herbs ( sage and rosemary), sauteed them in olive olive until browned and then put them in the oven at 325 to slow roast. Twenty minutes later, ( during a station break) I added a splash of port. Forty-five minutes later, I took them out, plated them, turned on the asparagus to steam, tossed the salad and deglazed the pan with more port for a sauce. During a break, I served the pork with spears of asparagus and baby arugula salad with walnuts, pear and feta...turns out it was not only a great win for the Red Sox but a superb meal!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Papparadella Provencal

Here's a quick but elegant way to celebrate the last of the market's
Toss thick slices of Italian eggplant, zuchini, red bell pepper, mushrooms, and black olives in olive oil and season with 2 generous TBS of herbs de Provence, salt and pepper. In a large cast iron frying pan, saute 3-4 cloves of garlic (diced) in olive oil, add the vegetables, splash port (or red wine) over the mixture, stir and cook until tender. At the last minute stir a little Aged Balsamic vinegar into the vegetables and serve over a dish of papparadella (or your favorite pasta)that has been drizzled with olive oil. Top with grated parmesan Reggiano.