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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gazpacho and Roasted Veggie Cheese Dish

The produce continues to be plentiful at our local farmer's markets and also at the grocer. I make at least one batch of gazpacho each summer, consulting various cookbooks and magazines, and as with most of my dishes I never quite make it the same.But in general my Gazpacho includes:
- Tomatoes, plum and another variety that is available
- Cucumbers, removing the seeds and sometimes the skin
- Onion - white and red
- Green and red bell pepper
- Small pieces of hot pepper
- Tomato Juice
- Worcestershire sauce
- Red wine vinegar
- Olive Oil
- Basil
- Ground black pepper
I process most of the veggies in the food processor, but leave enough diced chunks to give the soup some texture. On this occasion I also added fresh kernels of corn. I add the liquids, mix and chill for at least two hours before serving.

Other entree: Roasted Veggie and Cheese Dish. This is not quite a quiche but it has a crust and the main ingredients are cheese and eggs. I purchased a pastry sheet at the grocer and layered the roasted veggies on the crust and then poured the egg cheese mixture over the veggies and cooked a little more than the crust's package directions. The roasted veggies were green, yellow and red bell peppers, leeks, onion, eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. The veggies were seasoned with minced fresh garlic and tossed with olive oil to bake.

Wine: Hook and Ladder Station 10

The humidity had finally lifted so we chose to enjoy this summer meal on the deck. Delightful evening!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Shrimp and Chicken Sausage Kabobs with Melon Salsa

I met my husband (#2) seven summers ago. Our first date was out to dinner, the second a round of golf and dinner that eveing at my home. I wanted to impress him with my cooking, so I planned a four course meal. The first course was a shrimp and sausage kabob adapted from the Bistro Cuisine Cookbook, followed by a mustard peppercorn coated salmon, inspired by the same cookbook, grilled asparagus and yams, tuscan bread and peach sorbet with raspberries for desert. What a memory this woman has!! Not totally, I wrote it down in my personal "Friends and Food" journal. I must have considered him a worthy guest even on our second date.

Truthfully, without the journal I would have only remembered the shrimp and sausage kabobs, which is the dinner entry for today. But before I get to it, there is a story.

Shortly before he arrived, there was a "black out" in a large area of our state. But since I was grilling who cared. The salmon and vegetables had been prepared for grilling and were waiting there turn on the kitchen counter. While the kabobs were grilling, we sat on the deck, he sipping scotch, (he was not a wine drinker at that time)and me sipping wine.

As I was serving the kabobs on the plate he offered to go into the kitchen and prepare the glasses of water. He brought out the water and closed the sliding glass door behind him, just as I turned and said quickly...don't close...oh dear and the door locked!

The front door as well as the side door was locked, the garage door was not operable. He fortunately had left his cell phone in his car in the driveway. And being the former eagle scout that he is, he had a phone book under this car seat. After making at least five calls to locksmiths who all had the same reaction..."lady there is a black out in your area ...maybe tomorrow." One more call found someone who said he was working not far from my house and could stop over in about two hours.

At least we had the kabobs, two glasses of water, plates and forks and I had my wine! By the time we finished eating the kabobs we were in total blackness. Finally the locksmith arrived, "picked the lock" in the side door, and handed me the bill. I paused as if I was reviewing the bill, and certainly left enough time for the man who I had only known for a month and who locked us out of the house, to offer to pay the bill! He did not, and never did. But you can be assured when we were enjoying the kabobs with a fabulous bottle of Jordan last week, I asked him if he remembered the last time I had prepared them. And of course he did I did remind him, and he poured me a little more Jordan. Just love this man. And we do have a new sliding door to the deck, which he paid for.

First Course: Asiago Bagel Slices with Roasted Red Pepper and Parmesan. These were broiled and enjoyed with a glass of Joel Gott, Savignon Blanc.

Salad Course: Caprese in a Stemmed Glass. Small Cherry tomatoes, and rounds of fresh mozzarella were garnished with fresh basil, a splash of vinegar and olive oil and seasoned with fresh ground pepper.

Entree: Shrimp and Chicken/Jalapeno Sausages. The Shrimp and sausage (precooked) were alternated on the skewers. The kabobs coated with a glaze made of honey, apple juice, and brandy. They were grilled and then plated.

Side Serving: Cucumber and Melon Salsa. The salsa was diced cucumber, cantaloupe and red onion, tossed with lime juice and olive oil.

Wine: Jordan, 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wedge with Chicken and Blue Cheese

Iceberg lettuce wedges have come back into popularity. Not one of my favorites, but after watching my husband enjoy many restaurant versions of wedges with blue cheese dressing (with bacon) I decided I should try to come up with a version that I would enjoy...yes sometimes it is all about me.

Entree: Wedge with Panko Crusted Chicken and Blue Cheese.The Chicken tenderloin strips are brushed on all sides with Quaker Steak and Lube Louisiana Lickers sauce and rolled in panko crumbs. The chicken is baked at about 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. The wedge is topped with the chicken strips, blue cheese dressing and crumbled blue cheese. The dressing consists of olive oil, pinot grigio vinegar, blue cheese, and fresh gound pepper. Quaker Steak and Lube was first established in the neighboring town of where I grew up. The restaurant has ecpanded to many cities and is well known for its chicken wings and various levels of sauce from mild to wow (that is my own word, they have one that is more descriptive and probably copyrighted). But any mildly hot barbecue sauce would work.

Side: Crusty bread

Wine: Robert Stemler Caneros Pinot Noir 2006 EXCELLENT!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Salad and Salmon with Sun dried Tapenade

The left over Sun dried Tapanade from the recent Wine and Cheese Party and a trip to a nearby town's farmer market grocer inspired this dinner. The farmer's market had the freshest arugula and beautiful watermelon. I had prepared and enjoyed in the past a watermelon and feta salad, but on the drive home I kept tasting the combination of the peppery arugula with the sweet watermelon. With no feta in the frig I opted for fresh mozzarella.

First Course: Summer Salad with Arugula and Watermelon. The peppery and lively arugula was topped with chucks of watermelon, fresh mozzarella rounds, and onions in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Entree: Salmon and Sun dried Tapanade. The grilled salmon, was placed on grilled zucchini strips and topped with the tapanade.

Wine: We don't often have unfinished bottles of wine, but this night we enjoyed what was remaining of two bottles from the Wine and Cheese party. My husband enjoyed Greenpoint Shiraz '05 and I the Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay '06.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Wine and Cheese Party

Hello, I hope some of you missed me as I have missed you. It has been a very busy and distracting time, but I guarantee you I continue to plan, prepare, dine and enjoy!

In July we hosted a Wine and Cheese Party that we had donated to a local charity auction earlier this year. It is our way of combining support of a worthy organization, entertaining people (some we know, some we don't) and my love of presenting an array of food.

The offerings for this evening were: Baked Brie with Hot Raspberry Preserves. I described this on an earlier blog and the only difference was that I used a circle of brie that was coated with fresh ground pepper.

Antipasti. The platter included a variety of olives, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, prosciutto, roasted red peppers and grape tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella rounds with basil. Olive Oil was lightly sprinkled over the platter.

Two tapanades - Feta and Sun dried Tomato. The Feta Tapanade included feta, cream cheese and fresh oregano. The Sun dried Tomato Tapanade is from Bistro Style Cuisine. It included chopped sun dried tomatoes, garlic, tomato puree, capers, fresh basil and fresh ground pepper.

Raincoast Crisps and Baguette Rounds

Variety of Cheeses. The two cheese boards included English, Greek, Dutch and American cheeses.

Roasted Asparagus.

Fruit including grapes, strawberries, and raspberries

The wine card above lists the wines that we offered. Yes, there is a typo... but the evening was a hit!