Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hush Puppies

Prep / Total : 40 minutes      Makes 8 to 10 servings      (about 2 dozen hushpuppies)
No Southern fish fry is complete without deep-fried Hush Puppies. Simple ingredients make these puppies a favorite side.
1-1/2                cups self-rising white cornmeal mix
3/4                   cup self-rising flour
3/4                   cup diced sweet onion (about 1/2 medium onion)  1-1/2                tablespoons sugar
1                       large egg, lightly beaten 
1-1/4                cups buttermilk

1.           Pour oil to depth of 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 375°. Combine cornmeal and next 3 ingredients. Add egg and buttermilk; stir just until moistened. Let stand 10 minutes.
2.           Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls into hot oil, and fry, in 3 batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Keep warm in a 200° oven.


Bacon-and-Caramelized Onion Hush Puppies:
Increase onion to 1 1/2 cups.
Cook 5 bacon slices in a medium skillet over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp; drain bacon on paper towels, reserving 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon.
Sauté onion in hot drippings over medium-low heat 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Proceed with recipe as directed, stirring in onion and bacon with cornmeal mix in Step 1.

Jalapeño-Pineapple Hush Puppies:
Prepare recipe as directed, stirring in 1/2 cup canned pineapple tidbits and 2 to 3 Tbsp. seeded and diced jalapeño pepper with cornmeal mix in Step 1.

Shrimp-and-Corn Hush Puppies:
Prepare recipe as directed, reducing buttermilk to 3/4 cup and stirring 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked shrimp (about 3/4 lb. peeled) and 1 (8 1/4-oz.) can cream-style corn into batter in Step 1.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Beef-and-Brussels Sprouts Stir-Fry

                                        Makes  4 servings
1/2             pound flank steak
1/4            teaspoon salt
1/8            teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2               tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1/2            cup beef broth or water
1               tablespoon light brown sugar
2               tablespoons soy sauce
2               teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2            teaspoon cornstarch
12             ounces fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1               red jalapeño or red serrano pepper, sliced
1               tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2               garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4            cup chopped fresh mint
                      **Hot cooked rice**
1.        Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin strips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2.       Stir-fry steak, in 2 batches, in 1 Tbsp. hot oil in a large cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet over high heat 2 to 3 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Transfer to a plate, and wipe skillet clean.
3.       Whisk together beef broth and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.
4.       Stir-fry Brussels sprouts in remaining 1 Tbsp. hot oil over high heat 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Add jalapeño pepper, ginger, and garlic, and stir-fry 1 minute. Pour soy sauce mixture over Brussels sprouts, and bring mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes or until sprouts are tender. Stir in mint and steak. Serve over rice.
A ripping-hot skillet works as well as a wok to sear food fast. Just be sure to use one that can take the heat, preferably cast-iron or a large, heavy-bottomed stainless. Feel free to substitute any cruciferous vegetable cut into even pieces in place of Brussels sprouts, from broccoli and cauliflower to cabbage and bok choy.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Caramelized Onion & Cheese Pastries

Prep : 1 hour           Bake 15 minutes      Makes  4 dozen

2                    medium onions , thinly sliced
3                    tablespoons butter
1/2                teaspoon paprika
1/4                teaspoon salt
1/4                teaspoon dried thyme
1/8                teaspoon pepper
1                   cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
32                 sheets phyllo dough ( 14-inches x 9-inches)
3/4                cup butter , melted
1/4                cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 .          In a large skillet , saute onions in butter until softened . Reduced heat to medium-low , cook for 30 minutes or until deep golden brown , stirring occasionally . Stir in Paprika , salt , thyme and pepper . Remove from heat , cool . Stir in the Swiss cheese .
2 .         Lightly brush one sheet of phyllo dough with some of the melted buteer ; place another sheet of phyllo on top and brush with butter .(keep remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap and damp towel to prevent it from drying out ).
3 .          Cut the 2 layers sheets into 14-inch x 3-inch strips . Place 1 teaspoon of onion mixture on lower corner of each strip . Fold dough over over filling , forming a triangle . fold triangle up , then fold triangle over forming another triangle . Continue folding like a flag , until you comr to the end of the strip . Brush end of dough with butter and press onto triangle to seal . Turn triangle and breash with butter and press on triangle to seal .
4 .       Place triangles on greased baking sheets . Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese . Bake at 375* for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden brown . Serve warm .

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Peanut Brittle

Prep : 5 minutes   Cook: 50 minutes + cooling  Makes 3 pounds

3            cups sugar
2            cups water
3/4         cup light corn syrup
1/4         cup dark corn syrup
2            cups spanish or cocktail peanuts
2            talespoons butter
1             tablespoon baking soda
1            teaspoon vanilla extract

1 .      Line three 15-inch x 1-inch pans with parchment paper ( do not spray or grease).
2 .      In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar , water and corn syrups . Bring to a boil  , stirring  constantly to dissolve sugar . Using a pastry brush  dipped in water  , wash down the sides of the pan to eliminate  sugar crystals . Cook withour stirring  over medium heat  until  a candy thermometer  reads 260* (hard ball stage).
3 .       Stir in peanuts  and butter ; cook to 300* (hard-crack stage) .
4 .       Remove from heat  ; stir in baking soda  and vanilla  . (Mixture will foam) . Immediately pour into prepared pans  , spreading as thin as possible . Cool completely  . Break into pieces . Store between layers of waxed paper  in airtight containers .

You can cook your camarel to the point where it's beautiful rich shade of amber , that gives it a very dark , intense taste  . You have to work quickly with it .

You can also  walnuts , pecans  to give it your own touch  of variety of  of candies .

Saturday, July 27, 2013

'Yummy' Cream Scones

Prep time : -- 20 minutes ...Cooking timw :--- 10 to 15 minutes ... Makes 8 scones
2 ----------------cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 -----------------tablespoon sugar
3 ----------------teaspoons baking powder
1/2 --------------teaspoon salt
1/4 --------------cup (1/2 stick) butter , cut up
2 ----------------eggs
1/3 -------------cup heavy cream
1) Preheat oven to 425*F . In a large bowl , combine flour , sugar, baking powder and salt . Using a pastry blender , cut in butter until mixyure resembles coarse crumbs . Set aside .
2) In a medium bowl , beat eggs and cream with a fork until well blended . Stir egg mixture lightinto dry ingredients (adding an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons cream if necessary to make a solf dough).
3) Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently 5 to 6 times .
4) Roll dough to a 1/2-inch thickness . Cut into rounds with a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter , re-rolling (but not rekneading) scraps as necessary .
5) Arrange scones 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until golden --- 10 to 15 minutes .
Serve hot .
Honey-Oatmeal Scones
Prepare as directed for cream scones , reducing flour to 1 - 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats to flour , omitting sugar , reducing eggs to 1 and adding 2 tablespoons honey to egg cream mixture in step 2 . Roll dough to 3/4-inch thickness . Bake until golden -- 10 to 15 minutes .
Makes 5 scones

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Garden Salsa

Prep / Total time : 25 minutes       Makes 30 servings

In this recipe, ripe garden ingredients and subtle seasonings make a mouthwatering salsa that's a real summer treat

6           medium tomatoes , finely chopped
3/4        cup finely choppen green peppers
1/2        cup finely chopped onion
1/2        cup thinly sliced green onions
6           garlic cloves, minced
2           teaspoons cider vinegar
2           teaspoons lemon juice
2           teaspoons olive oil

2           teasoons minced jalapeno pepper

2           teaspoons ground cumin
1/2       teaspoon salt
1/2        teaspoon cayenne pepper

                   **Tortilla chips** 

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, green pepper, onions, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, oil, jalapeno and seasonings. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Serve with chips. Yield: 5 cups.

TIP: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

Enjoy this recipe with a sweet red wine.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bruschetta with Nectarine Salsa

Prep / Total time : 30 minutes      Makes 6 servings

This easy, cool dessert is perfect for warm days with its juicy nectarines, fresh raspberries and moist and delicious pound cake.

3                medium nectarine, chopped
3/4             cup(s) fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed
6                slices pound cake 4 oz. cream cheese
2                tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2                teaspoons honey
                      **Whipped cream, optional**
 1               tablespoon fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced

1 .        In a small bowl, combine the nectarine, raspberries and mint. Let stand for 5 minutes.
2 .        Combine cream cheese and whipping cream; spread over cake slices. Top with nectarine mixture.
3 .       Drizzle with honey. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Feta Vinaigrette

Makes 4 servngs    (serving size : 1-1/4 cup salad & 1 tablespoon cheesse)

Make a colorful dinner salad inspired by the Mediterranean in less than 30 minutes. Use part of the artichoke marinade in the vinaigrette to boost flavor and save time.

1          cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta; about 8 ounces)
2          cups bagged prewashed baby spinach, chopped 
1/2       cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves
3          tablespoons chopped red onion
3          tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/2       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1/4       teaspoon salt
1          (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
3/4       cup (3 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled and divided

1 .     Cook the orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; rinse with cold water. Combine orzo, spinach, and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl.
2 .     Drain artichokes, reserving marinade. Coarsely chop artichokes, and add artichokes, reserved marinade, and 1/2 cup feta cheese to orzo mixture, tossing gently to coat. Sprinkle each serving with remaining feta cheese.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Vegetables Made Easy 10 Sneaky Ways to Eat More Veggies

      If you shy away from eating vegetables, these tricks will help you get your recommended daily servings and enjoy them, too.

Are you eating 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day? If you answered "no," you're not alone. In fact, as many as 90 percent of Americans don't get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet, according to research published in the Journal of Nutrition. Yet it's really not that hard to meet these guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. One trick: Use vegetable recipes that disguise them, or hide them in foods you like to eat. Here are some simple cooking techniques to get you started.

Vegetables are "Grate"
"One of my favorite ways of sneaking vegetables into meals is to grate or dice carrots, celery, zucchini, onions, and more, and put them in whatever you’re preparing for dinner," says Ruth Frechman, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association who has a private practice in Burbank, Calif. Grated or diced work especially well in spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, tacos, soups, and stew recipes. When you throw extra vegetables in marinara sauce, for instance, you’re getting a double dose because marinara starts off with tomatoes, says Frechman.

    Hurray for Puree

You can make delicious hot or cold soups simply by pureeing vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, celery, asparagus, pumpkin and other squashes, and cauliflower. For an easy vegetable recipe, start with a bag of mixed frozen vegetables. Add just a tiny amount of butter, dry white wine, vegetable or chicken stock, and your favorite herbs and spices. "When you blend your mixture, it comes out creamy, so it’s a very rich-tasting soup," Frechman says. You won’t even think you’re eating vegetables.

      Do the Salsa
"Lots of times, people don’t think of salsa as a vegetable," Frechman says. "They love salsa, but don’t realize it’s good for them because it’s made from tomatoes, pepper, celery, onions, cilantro, and lime." To avoid turning this into an unhealthy vegetable recipe, don’t scoop up your salsa with traditional chips. Choose healthier alternatives, such whole-grain crackers and vegetable choices, including carrot and celery sticks and sliced rounds of jicama.

Root for Roasted Vegetables   
This great vegetable recipe doesn’t disguise veggies, but rather enhances them. Cut root vegetables (such as potatoes, squash, parsnip, and carrots) in chunks, coat them with a little olive oil, and roast them on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 to 400 degrees for about half an hour. Roasting brings out their sweetness, so although you can still tell they’re vegetables, they taste so good no one will object, Frechman says. Season with a little curry or rosemary, and you’re not only getting nutrients from eating vegetables but also antioxidants from the spices.

Vegetables Made Easy 10 Sneaky Ways To Eat More Veggies

     Give It Some Juice
Although juicing removes fiber, you’re still "eating" vegetables in a refreshing way. "One of my favorite juices is celery and green apple," Frechman says. "Blended together, it’s the most gorgeous green. It’s so refreshing and has a delicious flavor." What’s neat about making this kind of vegetable recipe is that you can combine fruits and vegetables in one drink and get lots of nutrients in every swallow.
                                      Stuff It
When you’re making stuffing, replace a third of your bread cubes with cut-up vegetables that have been sautéed in a little olive oil. You can put almost any vegetable you want in a stuffing recipe — carrots, celery, onions, peppers, and squash, to name a few. "It’s a great way of adding vegetables and flavor to your dish and still letting stuffing be a feature of your meal," Frechman says.

                                                     Hit The Sauce
Pureed vegetables can make a great sauce for grilled chicken,fish, and even other vegetables. Try roasting red and yellow peppers until the skins are charred. Cool slightly, remove the black skin, and puree the peppers in a food processor with a little oil. Roasted peppers are so flavorful you probably won’t need any other ingredients in this vegetable recipe. Use it in place of ketchup for a great sugar-free alternative.
                                  Be  a Smoothie Operator
The next time you’re making a fruit smoothie, add a few chunks of vegetables to your fruit base. Peeled, seeded, and diced cucumbers add a slight, refreshing tang and many nutrients. Try it in a fresh melon smoothie, along with a thickener like low-fat vanilla or plain yogurt. Other vegetables will blend better when cooked — experiment with chunks of rhubarb in a strawberry smoothie or carrots in a banana-mango combo.
    Go Green With Sandwiches
Eaten on a regular basis, dark green leafy vegetables have proven to have many health benefits — they’re anti-aging, cancer preventing, and Heart-healthy. A good way to sneak dark green leafy vegetables into your diet is to put some spinach leaves or other greens on whole-grain bread sandwiches. Better yet, use wide-leaf lettuce like romaine to make your own wraps and skip the bread altogether.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fresh and Juicy Veggie Burger

Prep / Total Time : 1 hour 15 minutes

This veggie-packed burger is made with chickpeas, artichokes, olives, asparagus and quinoa, then topped with melted cheese and marinated mushrooms.

1               head of garlic, halved horizontally
2               tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling and brushing
1/4            cup thinly sliced asparagus
1/3            cup fregola
1               15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1/4            cup chopped marinated artichokes
2               tablespoons chopped pitted Gaeta olives
2               tablespoons chopped scallions
2               tablespoons full-fat plain Greek yogurt
1               tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1               teaspoon chopped basil
1               teaspoon chopped mint
1               teaspoon chopped parsley
2-1/4         cups cooked red or white quinoa
                                 **Freshly ground pepper**
8                slices of scamorza cheese
8                burger buns, toasted
Sun-dried-tomato spread, marinated mushrooms and sliced fresh tomatoes, for serving

Preheat the oven to 375°.
1 .        Arrange the garlic halves cut side up on a sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil and wrap tightly. Roast until the garlic is very tender, about 1 hour. Let cool, then squeeze the cloves out of their skins into a small bowl and mash to a paste.
Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Put the asparagus in a strainer, submerge it in the water and cook just until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Cool the asparagus under running water and pat dry.
2 .       Return the water to a boil. Add the fregola and cook until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well and let cool slightly.
3 .       In a food processor, puree the garlic paste, fregola, chickpeas and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil; transfer the mixture to a bowl. Stir in the asparagus, artichokes, olives, scallions, yogurt, lemon juice, herbs and quinoa. Season with salt and pepper.
4 .       Heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet and brush with olive oil. Using lightly moistened hands, form the mixture into eight 3-inch patties. Brush the patties with oil and cook over high heat until golden on the bottom, 4 minutes. Flip the patties and top each with a slice of cheese. Reduce the heat to moderate, cover and cook until the patties are heated through and golden on the bottom and the cheese is melted. Set the burgers on the buns and top with sun-dried-tomato spread, marinated mushrooms and sliced tomatoes.

**Suggested Pairing **
Bright, cherry-scented red

Friday, July 19, 2013

Jerk Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Salsa

Prep / Total time : 50 minutes            Makes 4 servings

1                   (2-lb.) package pork tenderloins
2                   tablespoons olive oil
2                   tablespoons Caribbean jerk seasoning
2                   cups fresh blueberries 
1                   (8-oz.) can pineapple tidbits in juice, drained
1/4                cup chopped green onions
1/4                cup chopped fresh basil 
1/4                cup mango chutney
2                   tablespoons fresh lime juice 
1/2                teaspoon salt
1/2                teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1.           Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Remove silver skin from tenderloins, leaving a thin layer of fat. Brush pork with olive oil, and sprinkle with jerk seasoning.
2.          Grill pork, covered with grill lid, 10 to 12 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 145°. Remove from grill, and let stand 5 minutes.
3.        Meanwhile, coarsely chop 1 cup blueberries. Toss together remaining whole blueberries, chopped berries, and next 7 ingredients. Slice pork, and serve with blueberry salsa.

Easy side:
 Cook 2 Tbsp. olive oil; 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar; 1 garlic clove, pressed; and salt and pepper to taste in a small saucepan over medium-low heat 2 minutes or until bubbly. Toss mixture with 1 lb. haricots verts (tiny green beans), trimmed and blanched.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings

Prep / Total  time : 50 minutes           makes 4 servings

Most of us think of Buffalo wings as bar food, but with their accompaniment of celery sticks and creamy blue-cheese dressing, they make a fine casual meal. These wings are hot, but if you like them incendiary, pass extra Tabasco sauce at the table.
4               pounds chicken wings
3               tablespoons cooking oil
4               cloves garlic, chopped
1-3/4         teaspoons salt
1-1/2         teaspoons cayenne
2/3            cup mayonnaise
1/3            cup sour cream
1/4            pound blue cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
2               scallions including green tops, chopped
5               teaspoons vinegar
1/4            teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/4            cup ketchup
1               tablespoon Tabasco sauce
8               ribs celery, cut into sticks

1 .      Heat the oven to 425°.
2 .      In a large bowl, combine the wings, oil, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and the cayenne. Arrange the wings in a single layer on two large baking sheets. Bake until just done, about 25 minutes.
3 .      Meanwhile, in a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, blue cheese, scallions, 1 teaspoon of the vinegar, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper.
4.       In a large bowl, combine the ketchup, the remaining 4 teaspoons vinegar, and the Tabasco sauce. Add the wings and toss to coat. Serve the wings with the celery sticks and blue-cheese dressing alongside.

Serve  these wings with more finger food.
Corn on the cob would go nicely.
Roasted potato wedges are a good alternative and can be cooked alongside the wings.

Suggested Pairing :
Beer is a no-brainer with the salt, spice, and heat of this barfly classic.
For a more festive alternative, serve a crisp sparkling wine; it will refresh the palate and tame the heat of the dish.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Grilled Pork Chops With Cabbage and Sesame Slaw

Prep / Total time : 50 minutes             Makes 4 servings

4                   8 ounce bone-in pork chops (about 1 inch-thick)  
                            **kosher salt and black pepper**
1/4                cup orange juice
2                   tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2                   tablespoons rice vinger
2                   teaspoons sesame seeds
1                   tablespoon honey
1                   small head Napa or green cabbage , thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
1                   cup fresh cilantro leaves

Heat grill to medium-high.
Season the pork with ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Grill until cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the orange juice, oil, vinegar, sesame seeds, honey, and ¾ teaspoon salt.
Add the cabbage and cilantro and toss to combine. Serve with the pork chops.

Quick Tip :
To shred a head of cabbage, cut it in quarters through the stem, cut out and discard the core, then shred the quarters in a food processor or on a box grater.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Israeli Roast Eggplant, Hummus and Pickle Sandwiches

Prep / Total time : 1 hour          Serves 4

1                   large baking potato
1                   medium eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick
3                   tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1                   cucumber—peeled, halved, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1                   large tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1                   large jalapeño, minced
2                   garlic cloves, minced
3                   tablespoons chopped cilantro
2                   tablespoons chopped parsley
2                   tablespoons fresh lemon juice
                           **Freshly ground pepper**
4                   thick, sturdy pita breads, warmed
1                   cup hummus
1/4                cup tahini, at room temperature
4                   large hard-cooked eggs, sliced
4                   small dill pickles, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 425°.
1 .          In a small saucepan, cover the potato with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool, then peel the potato and slice it 1/4 inch thick. Season the potato slices with salt.
2 .          Meanwhile, arrange the eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil. Season with salt and bake for about 10 minutes, until browned and tender.
3 .          In a large bowl, add the cucumber, tomato, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro and parsley. Toss with the lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
4 .          Cut off 2 inches from the side of the warm pitas to make openings in the pockets. Gently open the pitas. Spread the hummus on the bottoms and 1 tablespoon of tahini over it. Layer the potato slices, eggplant, egg and cucumber-tomato salad in the pitas, along with some of the salad juices. Top with the pickle slices and serve.

Suggested Pairing:
Dry, raspberry-scented rosé.

Garden Tomato and Basil Pesto Pizza

Prep / Total : 25 minutes               Serving size : 1/4 of pizza

1            (12-ounce) prebaked pizza crust (such as your favorite brand)        
                             ** Cooking spray**
2            tablespoons commercial pesto
1            cup (4 ounces) thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
2            cups chopped tomato (about 2 large) 
1/4         teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4         cup thinly sliced fresh basil

1 .      Preheat oven to 450°.
2 .      Spray crust with cooking spray.
3 .      Place crust on a baking sheet; bake at 450° for 10 minutes. Spread pesto evenly over crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with mozzarella cheese slices and tomato; sprinkle with pepper. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes or until cheese melts and crust is golden. Sprinkle with basil.

Fresh mozzarella is easier to slice when it is very firm. Place mozzarella in the freezer just until firm, and thinly slice. Any brand of prebaked pizza crust will work for this recipe.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Grits-and-Greens Breakfast Bake

Prep / Total :  2 hours               Makes 8 servings
This dish combines breakfast favorites grits and eggs with tried-and-true Southen collard greens. Make simple simple collard greens up to three days ahead for simple prep before mealtime.
Give yourself a head start: Make Simple Collard Greens up to three days ahead.

1                teaspoon salt
1-1/2         cups uncooked quick-cooking grits
1                cup (4 oz.) shredded white Cheddar cheese 
3                tablespoons butter 
1/2             cup half-and-half
1/4             teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1/4             teaspoon ground red pepper
10              large eggs, divided (not separated)
3                cups simple collard greens , drained  (recipe below)                      
 **Hot sauce (optional)**

1.          Preheat oven to 375°. Bring salt and 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, whisking often, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese and butter.
2.         Whisk together half-and-half, next 2 ingredients, and 2 eggs in a medium bowl. Stir half-and-half mixture into grits mixture. Stir in Simple Collard Greens. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
3.         Bake at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Remove from oven.
4.         Make 8 indentations in grits mixture with back of a large spoon. Break remaining 8 eggs, 1 at a time, and slip 1 egg into each indentation. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until eggs are cooked to desired degree of doneness. Cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

Simple Collard Greens :
1/2             medium-size sweet onion, chopped 
2                tablespoons olive
1                (16-oz.) package fresh collard greens, washed, trimmed, and chopped
1-1/2          teaspoons salt

Cook onion in hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until tender. Add collard greens, salt, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Peanut Butter-Banana Icebox Pie

Prep / Total : 9 Hours             Makes  8 servings

2           cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (about 15 sheets)
1/2        cup finely chopped honey-roasted peanuts
1/2        cup butter, melted 
1           (4-oz.) semisweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
2           cups whipping cream, divided
1           (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1           cup creamy peanut butter 
1/2        cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2           teaspoons vanilla extract
2           large bananas, sliced 

Toppings: sweetened whipped cream, chocolate syrup, chopped honey-roasted peanuts

1.           Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together first 3 ingredients; firmly press on bottom, up sides, and onto lip of a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven to a wire rack, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).
2.          Microwave chocolate and 1/2 cup whipping cream in a small microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 1 1/2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. (Do not overheat.) Spoon chocolate mixture into prepared crust.
3.           Beat cream cheese, next 2 ingredients, and 1/4 cup whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until mixture is light and fluffy.
4.           Beat vanilla and remaining 1 1/4 cups whipping cream at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third whipped cream mixture into peanut butter mixture to loosen; fold in remaining whipped cream mixture.
5.          Arrange banana slices over chocolate mixture in crust. Spread peanut butter mixture over bananas. Cover and chill 8 hours. Serve pie with desired toppings.

Peanut Butter-Banana Icebox Pie is the dessert equivalent of a swimming hole—so refreshing you can't help but dive in.

If Elvis was alive, he would totally indulge in slice or two of this over-the-top pie. In his memory, enjoy a slice yourself.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Yummy Black Forest Cake

Prep: 40 min. + chilling Bake: 30 min. + cooling
Yield: 16 Servings
One taste and you'll agree this spectacular dessert is worth the effort.—

2              ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/3           cup canola oil
2              eggs , separated
1-1/2        cups sugar , divided
1-3/4        cups cake flour
1               teaspoon salt
3/4            teaspoon baking soda
1               cup 2% milk

6               tablespoons butter , softened 

4               cups confectioners' sugar
1-1/2         teaspoons vanilla extract
5               tablespoons half-and-half cream

1                can (14-1/2 ounces) pitted tart cherries
2                tablespoons cornstarch
3/4             cup sugar
1/4             teaspoon almond extract
6                drops red food coloring
1                cup heavy whipping cream
1/4             cup chocolate syrup
1                teaspoon vanilla extract
2                cups heavy whipping cream
2                tablespoons sugar 
1                teaspoon vanilla extract
         **Chocolate curls, maraschino cherries and fresh mint**

1 .      
In a microwave, melt chocolate; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. In a large bowl, beat the oil, egg yolks, 1 cup sugar and melted chocolate. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda; gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with milk.
2 .       In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat in remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.       Fold into batter.
3 .      Pour into two greased and waxed paper-lined 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
4 .      In a large bowl, beat cream filling ingredients until smooth; cover and refrigerate. For cherry filling, drain cherries, reserving juice. In a saucepan, combine cornstarch, sugar and cherry juice until smooth. Add cherries. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in extract and food coloring. Cool completely.
5 .       In a small bowl, beat chocolate filling ingredients until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate.
6 .       For frosting, in a large bowl, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate.
7 .       To assemble, cut each cake into two horizontal layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate; top with 1/2 cup cream filling. Place 1 cup cream filling in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; cut a 1/2-in. triangle in one corner of bag. Make a rim of filling 3/4 in. high around outer edge of cake.
8 .        Make a second rim 2 in. from edge. Spoon cherry filling between rings. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spread chocolate filling over second cake layer; place over cherry filling.
9 .       Spread remaining cream filling over third layer; place over chocolate filling. Top with fourth layer. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Garnish with chocolate curls, cherries and mint. Store in the refrigerator.


Everything Bread

Prep : 45 minutes + rising         Bake : 25 minutes
Yield: 25 Servings

1               package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
3/4            cup warm waster (110*to 115*)
1               cup warm milk (110* to 115*)
1/4            cup butter softened
2               tablespoons sugar
1               egg yolk
1-1/2         teaspoons salt
4-1/2         cups all-purpose flour
1               egg white
2               tablespoons water
1               teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1               teaspoon dried minced onion
1               teaspoon each sesame, caraway and poppy seeds

1 .       In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, butter, sugar, egg yolk, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough.
2 .      Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
3 .       Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough into thirds. Shape each into a 20-in. rope. Place ropes on a large greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
4 .    Preheat oven to 375°. Combine egg white and water; brush over dough. Combine salt, onion and seeds; sprinkle over bread. Bake 22-28 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 loaf (25 slices).

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Country Ham Carbonara

Prep / Total : 40 minutes             Makes 4 servings

Hearty, not heavy, is key in this savory Italian meal of Country Ham Carbonara. Serve this one-dish pasta immediately for the best flavor.

1                  (9-oz.) package refrigerated fettuccine
3/4               cup chopped country ham
2                  tablespoons olive oil
2                  shallots, thinly sliced
2                  garlic cloves, pressed
2                  pasteurized egg yolks
1/2               cup (2 oz.) freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
3                  tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3                  tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2               teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

1.       Cook pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving 1-1/2 cups hot pasta water.
2.       Cook ham in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove ham, reserving drippings in skillet. Drain on paper towels.
3.        Sauté shallots in hot drippings 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add reserved pasta water to shallots and garlic; bring to boil. Stir in hot cooked pasta, and remove from heat. Stir in egg yolks, 1 at a time.
4.       Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until creamy. Remove from heat; add cooked ham, Parmesan cheese, and remaining ingredients. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Chicken Fried Rice

Prep /Total: 30 Minutes         Makes 6 servings

In the amount of time it takes for takeout to be delivered to your door, our homemade Chicken Fried Rice will be on the table and ready to eat.

3            tablespoons vegetable oil, divided 
4            large eggs, lightly beaten 
3/4         cup diced onion 
3/4         cup diced red bell pepper
1            pound haricots verts (tiny green beans), trimmed and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
2           cups chopped cooked chicken
4           cups cooked basmati rice
1/3        cup soy sauce
 3          tsp. Asian chili-garlic sauce
   **sliced green onions, chopped toasted almonds**

1.        Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 1 minute; add eggs, and cook, gently stirring, 1 to 2 minutes or until softly scrambled. Remove eggs from skillet; chop.
2.       Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in skillet; add onion, bell pepper, and green beans, and stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add chicken, and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add rice, soy sauce, and chili-garlic sauce; stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in scrambled eggs; sprinkle with desired toppings.

Fried Egg Sandwiches

Prep / Total : 30 minutes            Makes 4 servings

Dive into this open-face version of a fried egg sandwich. The drizzle of hollandaise sauce and topping of chopped-sun dried tomatoes are the perfect finishing touches.

4                  (1/2-inch-thick) challah bread slices
2                  tablespoons butter, melted
1                  (0.9-oz.) envelope hollandaise sauce mix
1/4               teaspoon lemon zest
1-1/2            teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
2                  cups loosely packed arugula
1/2               cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4               cup thinly sliced red onion 
3                  teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
4                  large eggs 
1/4               teaspoon kosher salt
1/4               teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12                thin pancetta slices, cooked
2                  tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1.       Preheat broiler with oven rack 5 to 6 inches from heat. Brush both sides of bread with butter; place on an aluminum foil-lined broiler pan. Broil 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until lightly toasted.
2.      Prepare hollandaise sauce according to package directions; stir in zest and 1/2 tsp. lemon juice. Keep warm.
3.      Toss together arugula, next 2 ingredients, 2 tsp. olive oil, and remaining 1 tsp. lemon juice.
4.      Heat remaining 1 tsp. olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Gently break eggs into hot skillet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness.
5.      Top bread slices with arugula mixture, pancetta slices, and fried eggs. Spoon hollandaise sauce over each egg, and sprinkle with tomatoes. Serve immediately

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Citrus-Herb Grilled Vegetables

Prep : 30 minutes     Cook: 25 minutes    Makes 12 servings   Stand : 3 hours

Want your kids to eat more veggies? Your family will love the flavor of grilled eggplant zucchini, squash and mushrooms right off the grill. If you have any leftovers, serve them the next day in a cold pasta salad or as a part of a toasty vegetable sandwich .
Marinate a medley of summer veggies—yellow squash, zucchini, bell pepper, eggplant, and sweet onion—in olive oil and herbs and then grill until tender.

1                 cup olive oil
2                 teaspoons salt
4                 cloves garlic, crushed
1                 teaspoon dried oregano
1                 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1                 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1                 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1                 teaspoon pepper 
2                 teaspoons grated lemon zest
6                 tablespoons lemon juice
3                 medium zucchini, each cut lengthwise into 4 pieces
3                 medium yellow squash, each cut lengthwise into 4 pieces 
2                 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, each cut lengthwise into 4 pieces
1                 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, cut into quarters, each held together with a skewer
2                eggplants, each cut lengthwise into 4 pieces
3                portobello mushrooms, stems removed
 1.       In a bowl, combine oil, salt, garlic, oregano, rosemary, thyme, parsley, pepper, lemon zest and juice. Put zucchini, squash, bell peppers and onion in a large ziplock bag and pour in half of marinade. Seal bag and shake to coat vegetables. Let stand for 3 hours at room temperature. Put eggplant and mushrooms in a separate ziplock bag, add remaining marinade, seal and shake to coat vegetables. Let stand for 1 hour at room temperature.
2.        Preheat grill to medium. When heated, oil grates. Place onions, bell peppers and eggplant on grill and cook for 10 minutes. Add zucchini, squash and mushrooms to grill and cook all vegetables about 15 minutes longer, turning halfway through.
3.        Cut vegetables into smaller sizes for serving, if desired. Arrange on a platter and serve warm, or cover and chill to serve cold.