all sorts of recipes, from me to you

all sorts of recipes, from me to you…

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tomato Pie ~ My New Favorite Summer Dish!



All of you tomato lovers out there have to give to give this recipe a go before the summer is over ~ while tomatoes are still in season!






I’ve been buying tomatoes at the farmers’ market lately like I’m afraid there will be a shortage of them.  This summer, I’ve served this several times to family and guests, and got nothing but rave reviews.  If we’re lucky enough to have a slice or two left over for lunch the next day, all the better!


There are many tomato pie recipes out there, and this one caught my eye because of the cheese crackers --- a little twist on the recipe.  Start with a good pie crust and sliced tomatoes, add a little fresh basil, some freshly grated Parmesan and mozzarella cheese, mayonnaise and last, but not least:  BACON!  Bake until it’s puffed and golden and ~ VOILA! ~ you have about the most delicious thing on earth for your mealtime!



Bacon!
Mayo & Parm
Cheese crackers

Baked!


Tomato Pie

Ingredients:

1 (9-inch) pie crust, blind-baked – see recipe below*
8 tomatoes, divided—5 in bottom layer, 3 in top layer**
¾ - 1 pound bacon; however much pleases you, cooked and crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh basil or ½ teaspoon dried
¾ cup mayonnaise
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons onion, minced
¾ cup cheese crackers, crushed (I use Cheez-Its)
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice tomatoes and drain well.
Place 5 tomatoes overlapping on cooled pie crust.
Scatter bacon and basil over top.
Mix together mayonnaise and Parmesan.
Spread over top of bacon.
Sprinkle with crushed crackers.
Layer with shredded mozzarella.
Place remaining 3 tomatoes, overlapped, on top.
Sprinkle pepper over all.
(You may need to cover the edge of the crust with foil to keep it from becoming too brown.)

Bake for about 35 minutes.
Cool pie for 20 minutes before slicing.


*Blind-baked crust:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line crust with foil or parchment paper.
Fill with rice or dried beans.
Bake about 10 minutes until lightly browned.

**I peel the tomatoes.


If you want a delicious summer time dish, make this!




Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, @My Kind Of Cooking for her tips on Tuesday and yummy recipes on Friday!









Friday, August 24, 2012

Zucchini Fettuccine



I love summer ~ and all the fresh vegetables! 







The other day, I came home from the farmers’ market with bags of vegetables to stir fry for a quick, tasty dish.  It’s healthy, colorful and tasty too!

If you’ve never tried Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing, you’re in for a surprise.  It’s tart, tangy; has a bit of a bite.  It’s gold in color, with plenty of colorful specks, and is a little chunky.  I really really like it and use it as a salad dressing or marinade quite often; it’s great on fish ~ and it’s perfect for this veggie dish! 



Zucchini Fettuccine

Ingredients:

8 ounces fettuccine
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tomatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces
1 yellow squash, cut into bit-size pieces
¼ pound snow peas
1 teaspoon basil leaves
Salt and seasoned pepper, to taste
1/3 to ½ cup Zesty Italian salad dressing
½ cup Parmesan cheese

Method:

Prepare fettuccine per package directions.  Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in medium-hot skillet.
Add mushrooms, sauté until water is released.
Add onions and garlic, sauté until almost transparent.
Add remaining vegetables and sauté until desired tenderness.
Stir in basil, salt and pepper, and dressing.
Add cooked fettuccine and toss to blend.
Remove to serving dish.
Sprinkle with Parmesan.


Are you eating your fresh veggies this summer?





Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, @My Kind Of Cooking.  Tuesday is tip day and Friday is the day for great, easy recipes for you!








Friday, August 17, 2012

Off to Ohio For a While



Due to the passing of my loving brother, Jim; my one and only sibling, I will be taking a break...








You all have a nice weekend!

Till later,



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sautéed Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Salad in a Savory Vinaigrette



Corn is at the top of my list when I go to the farmers’ market now, and I especially wanted it a few days ago, to make this simple recipe that is chock-full of summer flavors!







Just shuck 2 or 3 ears of corn; cut the corn off the cob, combine it with roasted red peppers, and blend the veggies together in the creamy, savory vinaigrette.  It’s delicious and is the perfect side dish to go with any main from the grill ~ hot dogs, Italian sausage, hamburgers, chicken, pork chops ~ you name it!

This is one of my favorite ways to use fresh corn:  not only does it rank high in taste, it’s pretty to look at too!  I hope you try it!



Sautéed Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Salad

Ingredients:

For the dressing:

¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon McCormick’s Seasoned Pepper Blend

For the salad:

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups fresh sweet corn
1 cup diced roasted red peppers
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 or 4 basil leaves, chiffonade

Method:

Add the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine well.  Set aside.
Add the oil to a large skillet and place over medium heat.
When oil is hot, add corn and cook, stirring for 8-10 minutes or until the corn kernels are lightly toasted.
Remove from heat and place in a mixing bowl.
Add the roasted peppers, dressing, cayenne and salt and pepper.
Toss to combine; cover and refrigerate for one hour.
Before serving, taste for seasoning, add basil and toss well.
Serve cold or room temperature. 
8 servings

ENJOY!!!



Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, @My Kind Of Cooking for her tips on Tuesday and yummy recipes on Friday!





Friday, August 10, 2012

Mini Pies ~ Blueberry & Apple Too



I confess, I really like kitchen gadgets and have my share of them.  Then, I read an article about the Breville Personal Pie Maker…







I eyed the Pie Maker for a long time on line, and studied the plethora of reviews, before inquiring about it at Williams Sonoma.  They were a hot little item at the time, and there was even a waiting list for them ~ kind of like years ago, when I was waiting to read a library book that was on the reserve list.  I passed on the pie maker list.

Months later, while at Williams Sonoma, I inquired about the Breville Pie Maker again, and the saleslady told me she had a stack of them in the back.  She said they wouldn’t even be displaying them as people always ask for them and they sell swiftly.  Wow!



Breville Personal Pie Maker



She brought one from the back for me, and explained how it worked, and how great it is for a variety of pies, even savory ones. She needn’t have bothered, as I was sold on it before I saw it!

The other day, I made 4 blueberry and 4 apple pies.  First of all, I heated the pie maker, and cooked the 2 fillings.  The instruction book says to fill the pies with about 1/3 cup filling each.  I think they needed more.  Too full tough, the filling spills out, and then you have a mess.

Next, I followed the advice in the booklet, and used rolled pie crust from the dairy case for the pastry base and puff pastry for the pastry top.  I simply unrolled the bottom crust on the flour-dusted countertop; rolled it out slightly, with a rolling pin, so the included pastry cutter would fit perfectly for 4 pie crusts. 

Each one was inserted into a pie mold and tamped down with the accompanying pastry press.  Scoop the filling into each one, top them with 4 cutouts of puff pastry tops, close the lid and let it do it’s thing for about 12-14 minutes, and ~ VOILA! ~ you have 4 yummy mini pies.

I experimented the first couple of times with how much filling and how long to bake.  I used almost ½ cup filling per pie, instead of the 1/3 cup suggested in the book.  The filling may be heavy enough to push the bottom crust into the maker, without using the pastry press.  Canned filling may be used also.  The pie maker crimped the edges of the dough well when baking.   

The pies start baking the second the bottom crust is inserted, so it requires quick work.  The top crust seemed to bake/brown faster than the bottom so I left the lid open the last minute before removing them.  The longer the pie maker heated, the better it was, by the second set of pies.



Bakes 4 mini pies

Cut-outs for pastry bottom

Dough ready for filling

Apple filling

Ready to bake

Voila!  Second batch baked longer


I think it’s a great gadget. At holiday time, I will be baking many in a wider variety, since we all have our personal favorite ~ pumpkin, pecan, apple, mince and cherry.  But first, I want to bake chicken/veggie pies or quiche from a recipe in the instruction book!

Mom was the “pie queen” and wouldn’t have dreamed of using a store bought crust.  Unfortunately, I have never mastered the art of pie making, like my mom, even after standing by her side, following step by step.  This is the #1 reason why this is a great gadget for me!



Blueberry Filling

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1½ tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Method:

In a medium saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar, water and lemon zest and corn starch.
Stir to combine and cook until thickened, without crushing berries.
Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.
Allow to cool before assembling pies.
Filling for 4 mini pies

Apple Filling

Ingredients:

4 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons corn starch
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla


Method:

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
Add apples and cook until almost tender, about 10 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients, except vanilla.
Reduce heat to low.
Stir frequently until sugar is dissolved and apples are well glazed.
Remove from heat.
Stir in vanilla.
Allow to cool before assembling pies.
Filling for 4 mini pies



The Breville pie maker is a wonderful thing and if you like gadgets too and mini pies, you will love this!



Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, @My Kind Of Cooking.  She has unique tips on Tuesdays and yummy recipes every Friday!


Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with the maker of the product.  This post is just my personal opinion.





Monday, August 6, 2012

Garden Pasta Salad with Bocconcini



Pasta and fresh vegetables with a little chicken thrown in:  a perfect side dish for a cookout, or even an entire meal!




This is a quick dish to be served warm; or chilled, and then brought to room temperature before serving.  The salad has a light, refreshing flavor for summer with bocconcini (bite-size, Italian mozzarella cheese balls), cherry tomatoes, slices of zucchini, and chicken, enveloped in a zesty dressing.


This recipe is adapted from a Food Network Magazine recipe.  Mix and match ingredients to your taste ~ add freshly chopped basil, toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds, chicken or not.  It’s a mouth-watering dish, whether served hot or room temperature!  It’s a keeper!



Garden Pasta Salad with Bocconcini

Ingredients

For the dressing:

3 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ cup cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:

8 ounces cavatappi pasta, or a similar one
1 small zucchini
1½ cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup halved bocconcini 
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces
Salt and seasoned pepper, to taste

Method:


Make the dressing:

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil; add the garlic and cook 2 minutes. Remove the garlic and place in a blender with the cherry tomatoes, vinegar and basil; puree until smooth.
With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and blend until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.

Make the salad:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the pasta and cook until just almost al dente.
Drain and rinse under cool water; shake off the excess.
Transfer the pasta to a bowl and toss with the dressing.
Shave the zucchini into strips with a vegetable peeler, halve the strips crosswise and add to the pasta.
Add the chicken, tomatoes and bocconcini and toss.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, up to 6 hours. (Bring to room temperature before serving.)


It’s scrumdiddilyumpshus!!!



Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, @My Kind Of Cooking.  She has unique tips on Tuesdays and yummy recipes every Friday!








Thursday, August 2, 2012

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting



Every year, when Bill’s birthday rolls around, he has visions of a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.



This recipe, from Martha’s American Food cookbook by Martha Stewart, is the recipe I used for his birthday cake recently.  It’s actually for a 4-layer cake ~ I wasn’t that adventurous, and made it 2-layers.  




According to Martha, “butter cakes” are a departure from the tradition of cake baking inherited from the Europeans, who relied on whipped egg whites for loft in sponge cakes, and glazes to moisten the airy layers.  With the advent of chemical leaveners, American bakers could increase the amount of butter in their cakes and still get a glorious lift ~ resulting in a new kind of cake with ultra-moist layers.”  “Butter cakes,” such as this one, quickly became the American standard.


By the way, the cookbook is filled with lots of great recipes, and this one made Bill a happy man for his birthday!











Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Adapted

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
1½ cups flour, plus more for pans
1½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1¾ cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1¼ cups milk


Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter two 8”x2” round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment.
Butter parchment and dust with flour, tap out excess.
Sift together flours, baking powder and salt into medium bowl.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl when needed.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla.
With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour.
Beat well after each addition.

Divide batter between prepared pans.
Bake until tops are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
Let cool in pans on a rack for 20 minutes.
Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen and turn out cakes onto rack.
Let cool completely, top side up.

*Place one of the layers on serving plate, spread with frosting.
Place other layer on top and frost entire cake.
8 to 10 servings

Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

1½ pounds semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
1 pound plus 4 tablespoons (4½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt

Method:

Heat chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over(not in) a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until completely melted, about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine cocoa and the boiling water; stir until cocoa is dissolved.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until light and fluffy.
Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Beat in cocoa mixture. 
Use immediately.
Makes 7½ cups (enough for an 8-inch layer cake)

*Pam’s note:  As I stated earlier, this recipe is for 4 layers.  If you desire to, cut each of the 2 layers in half horizontally with a serrated knife to make 4 layers, and frost each layer.  This frosting recipe makes plenty of frosting to cover the cake.



Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, @My Kind of Cooking for great tips and delicious easy recipes!