Monday, July 29, 2013

Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar Bread

I couldn't think of a better name - can you?? I had a loaf of Rosemary and Olive Oil bread ready to serve with dinner. When I got it out, I realized it had been sitting a day or two too long and it was a bit stale. Don't you just hate that? So, I resigned to make croutons instead when inspiration struck. 

This bread was so flavorful - crunchy on the outside and soft and perfect on the inside.

Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar Bread
Good olive oil (my fav is the Mediterranean blend from Costco - it has canola, grapeseed & olive oils)
Good balsamic vinegar (fav is Kirkland brand)
Kosher salt

Cut bread into 1 1/2" slices. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and sprinkle with salt. Turn your broiler on and don't step away. In 4-5 minutes you'll notice the edges and just crisping up and turning golden brown. That's when I take it out. I honestly could've eaten the entire loaf and just have foregone the rest of the meal. So. Good. Making this again - just as soon as I can get my hands on another loaf.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Roasted Summer Veggies

I saw a recipe very similar to this on - where else? Pinterest - HERE

Around here - we love our veggies - and we don't hide it - or them! If you show up to our house with roasted veggies - I can guarantee you will leave with an empty serving dish.

I have to preface this dish with something that may just knock your socks off. My 10 year old son not only asked for seconds, but for thirds of this side dish (served with grilled chicken) AND he asked me to save anything left in the dish for his lunch the following day. Considering my family can be insanely picky when it comes to leftovers, I was curious. The next day - he was rummaging around in the fridge when I asked what he was looking for. "The veg from last night, Mom. You said I could have it for lunch" he finished it off and still wanted more. I should also mention that hubs and darling 8, 5 and 18 month old loved this too.

If that doesn't sell you - I don't know what will...

Roasted Summer Veggies
2-3 small zucchinis
2-3 small summer squash
2-3 fist(ish) sized potatoes (I used yellow)
1 large yellow onion
1 c + Parmesan (I love shaved parm)
1 t minced garlic
Salt, pepper, olive oil

Slice ends off of your onion, then in half and then cut into 1/4" slices. Slice all other veg into 1/4" slices. My potatoes were pretty wide, so I cut those 1/4" oval slices in half to bring them down closer to the size of the other veg.

Preheat your oven to 400 and PAM an 8x8 casserole dish (I have an oblong one I used).

Heat 1T evoo in saute pan. Add onion and cook until transparent (about 5-7 minutes), add garlic and cook for an additional minute (careful not to burn the garlic - it will taste bitter!!)

Pour the onions into the bottom of the casserole dish. Alternate zucchini, squash and potatoes vertically around the dish in a single layer.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle Parmesan on top and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the cheese is a nice golden brown.

A few notes:
*I used to be so disappointed in the zucchini and squash selection in the produce department - UNTIL I heard this little tip. The smaller zucchini and squash are more palatable because they have fewer seeds! Of course you can use the big old honkin' tubers in your garden (if you are amazing like that!).
**The original recipe includes roma tomatoes and thyme. I bought tomatoes fully intending to use them, but when it came down to it, I decided against using them. Hubs isn't particularly fond of cooked tomatoes (except in all the obvious places!) and my 10 year old son isn't a fan either (good call!) Also, I just didn't have thyme on hand - oh. wait. I just laughed a little too hard at that one.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Tomato Pie

Yes. Tomato Pie.

I bought 2 flats of huge beefsteak tomatoes to teach a bunch of my daughters friends how to make their own salsa. I waaaay over bought.

I went to Facebook and asked my friends what they would do with all these tomatoes - other than make salsa. I got lots of advice - marinara sauce, lasagna, tomato jam (!?) and something I'd never heard of... Tomato Pie. I was intrigued - but not sold. She posted the recipe and I was very interested. A couple of days later, my big foodie friend Geoff posted that he had made said Tomato Pie and called it the "winner!" Now, I was sold.

We all had second helpings of this delicious side - my daughter said it tasted like lasagna - but better (if you're looking for some verbage to sell your kids on this).

See all those little bits of basil in there?? I'm growing basil in the back yard - so I'm hoping the next time I make this I will have enough basil to layer fresh basil leaves over each layer of tomatoes - oh yeah baby.

I used the recipe my friend, Dawn, posted - with a slight variation.
Tomato Pie
1 frozen pie crust
3 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
2 cups Ricotta cheese
1/2 - 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (I used shavings)
1-2 T basil paste (stores were OUT of fresh basil!)
1 t garlic powder
salt and pepper

Slice tomatoes, lay them in a colander in the sink and salt them. Allow them to drain for about 10 minutes.

Combine cheeses, garlic powder and basil paste.

Layer the tomato slices in the pie crust - peppering as you go. Cover the tomatoes with the cheese mixture.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes - or until the top is slightly golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Root Beer Baked Beans

My kids LOVE baked beans. It's an obsession for them. If it were up to them, we would have baked beans at every single meal. Until I decided to go ahead and make baked beans myself, they were strictly Bush's Baked Beans snobs. Nothing but Bush's would do. I saw the "He Made - She Made" article in the June issue of The Food Network magazine and was completely inspired by the recipe by Aarti Sequeira. She uses a lot of indian spices (which my kids wouldn't likely take to in their precious beans) so this recipe is just loosely based on hers.

Root Beer Baked Beans
1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 large white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz tomato paste
3 - 4 cups Root Beer
1 T apple cider vinegar
2-3 T maple syrup
4 15 oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c BBQ sauce
Pinch of red pepper flakes - to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Aarti makes hers in the oven - but it was so darn hot - I made mine in the slow cooker.

Cook bacon in skillet, remove when cooked and drain on paper towel. Reserve 2 T bacon drippings to cook the onion until translucent. Add garlic the last 30 seconds or so - until fragrant. Add bacon, onion and garlic to all the other ingredients in your slow cooker. Cook on high 3-4 hours.

*These beans were delicious the first night we ate them. They were freakin' fantastic - thinking about canning this and selling them good - the next night.

Ultimate Coleslaw

With the 4th of July coming up, I wanted to post some recipes I've made lately with the greatest BBQ day on the planet in mind:)

First up - coleslaw. My favorite spin on coleslaw is this Lime & Cilantro Coleslaw but as far as a traditional coleslaw goes - I had to go to Mr. Tyler Florence for his recipe.

I used this coleslaw in a different application and was extremely pleased with the result!! I served the coleslaw as a dip for tortilla chips. Everyone loved it. The crunch and the saltiness of the chip complimented the coleslaw perfectly. I'll be serving it as a dip again for our Independence Day BBQ.

Ultimate Coleslaw adapted from Tyler Florence
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 - 2 tablespoons sugar*
1 store-bought bag shredded slaw mix (containing red and green cabbage and carrots)
1/2 yellow onion, grated*

In a large bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients. Add the shredded slaw mix and toss until combined.

(My Note: the longer you let it sit, the better. I had some about an hour after I made it and it was good. I t was 100% better the next day!)

In the original recipe, he says - a pinch to 1 T of sugar. Since we don't have a lot of sugary snacks around here - I don't feel bad bumping up the sweet factor in this recipe. I also added grated onion, one of my favorite new tricks to add moisture and flavor to a variety of dishes!

*Picture is also thanks to TF and the Food Network. Mine was eaten too quickly to get a picture:)


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