Thursday, June 28, 2012

One sauce, two dishes... fresh herb & lemon sauce



Ever feel like super simple, healthy and easy?  I mean super easy? Today was one of those days...
It was not "super" hot today, if you call upper 80's in NY hot, but the humidity was surreal!!  I came home exhausted because of the humidity.
Being the good "mother of the bride" that I am, I quickly went upstairs, changed into comfy clothes and hit the treadmill... I did 30 minutes on that baby, then proceeded to do another 15 minutes of weights.

Hit the shower and I had an "OH MY GOSH" moment...you will not believe it.
I actually was revitalized and had enough energy to make dinner!! Could it be true what they say?  That exercise actually gives you energy??
I have never been a lover of exercise...  FOR REAL??  Wow, I'm like really amazed, no seriously... WHO KNEW??  Better yet, who believed??

So back to dinner, I wanted something super easy, healthy and DELICIOUS.  You know I'm all about delicious!!  I reverted back to my roots, yes, yes I did!!  I remember my dad drizzling the grilled lamb chops, pork chops and steaks with this amazing sauce... I had an "aha" moment!!



I made two wonderful dishes with just one sauce.  I chose to cook fresh green beans, boneless skinless chicken breasts, assorted olives and crusty bread!!
The green beans are steamed till just tender and then the herb garlic/lemon sauce drizzled and tossed over them just takes them to the next level, or two!!
The boneless skinless chicken breasts were grilled by hubby to perfection with the sauce basted on during the final few minutes...

You taste the lemon, the garlic, the fresh herbs and you just want to lick your fingers, go ahead, I won't tell!!


Ready for the recipe?  Here we go:


Ingredients:
2 cloves garlic pressed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup fresh chopped herbs *see notes below*
1 tsp sea salt (Kosher)
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper


Directions:
Gather your ingredients; 


notice my favorite ever Tupperware microwave steamer found at an estate sale brand new and wishing there was 3 more of them babies....


Juice lemon, set aside.  Rinse and dry fresh herbs and chop fine, set aside.  Press garlic cloves set aside.  In a small bowl, add your lemon juice, seasonings and finely the oil.  Beat with a whisk till the mixture has emulsified, become thicker.  



Add your chopped herbs and your pressed garlic and stir with a fork till well incorporated.

Pour half of the sauce over your vegetable I used fresh green beans steamed till just tender.  Look at how beautifully the fresh herbs are clinging to the green beans...





Reserving the other half of the marinade, we grilled the boneless skinless chicken breasts as seen above.

Notes:  I used fresh from my garden, parsley, basil and chives.  The chives were really not ready, but I just couldn't help myself... you can use whatever fresh herb you have on hand.  



I love the slight onion taste on both the green beans and grilled chicken.  The flavor of the parsley, the basil, chives and the garlic married with the lemon juice and olive oil?  It will literally knock your socks off, or... let's put it this way, you won't be buying fast food anytime soon! Especially since this entire dinner was done in less than 40 minutes, from start to finish... how is that for easy??  I would never lie to you!! ;-)

Okay, off to pack lunches for tomorrow.  



Till next time!!


Dishin with Didi

Monday, June 25, 2012

Patriotic Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Vanilla-Lemon Buttercream

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Moist little gems popping with fresh blueberries and bursting with lemon flavor!!  Decorated with random swirls of vanilla-lemon buttercream and just a few patriotic sprinkles on top... your Fourth of July celebrations will be a hit.  "Shhhhhh" no one needs to know they start off with a box cake mix, that will be "our" little secret!

Ready for the recipe?


Here we go:


Ingredients:
1 package Patriotic Confetti white cake mix (white cake mix is perfectly fine if you cannot locate the confetti one)

1-1/4 cups (190 gr) fresh blueberries
Zest of 1 lemon reserving 1 tsp of zest for buttercream frosting

Directions Cupcakes:  Reserve 3 Tablespoons (22.5 gr) of cake mix.  Prepare the remaining mix as according to directions on box and adding the lemon zest.


Toss the blueberries with the reserved cake mix.  This will ensure that the blueberries do not sink to the bottom of the cupcake. Fold in and ensure all cake mix has been incorporated.  Set aside.




Preheat oven to 350 and line your cupcake pans with liners.  Fill liners 2/3 full of cupcake batter and bake for 22-25 minutes or till cake tester comes out clean.  Place pan on cooling rack for a few minutes, then remove cupcakes and place directly on cooling rack to cool thoroughly.





Ingredients, Vanilla-Lemon Buttercream:1 cup or 2 sticks (450gr) unsalted butter softened
3-4 cups (690gr - 920gr) confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) powdered vanilla
pinch of salt

1 tsp (5 ml) reserved lemon zest
3-4 tbls (30-45ml) milk


Directions Vanilla-Lemon Buttercream:
Sift your sugar, vanilla powder and salt, set aside.
In a medium bowl add your butter and proceed to cream.  Cream in your reserved lemon zest, *at this point inhale the wonderful aroma of lemon and vanilla*
Gradually add the confectioner's sugar.  Mixture will be very thick.  Slowly add 1 tbls (15ml) of milk at a time till you have reached the exact consistency for piping/decorating etc.


Look at those beautiful blueberries peaking thru


So what is *powdered vanilla*?  I thought you would never ask!!
 
Definition: 
A vanilla flavored powder that is made by grinding dried vanilla beans into a fine textured powder. When heat is applied to the ingredients, Vanilla Powder holds its flavor better than a vanilla extract, making it best suited for flavorings used for foods that are heated in some manner, such as baked goods or tea and coffee. It is also a good flavoring to use with fresh fruits, with dry mixes or in any preparation that may need a light rather than a dark colored vanilla seasoning. For recipes, 1 tablespoon of pure Vanilla Powder is equal to 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. Vanilla Powder may be somewhat difficult to find but can generally be located in some food stores, cake decorating supply stores, gourmet markets, and through specialty mail order services. 

Powdered Vanilla 






The amazing vanilla-lemon buttercream will be the star of the show because of the special "powdered vanilla"!!  Look at how beautiful the crystals are!!  The aroma as soon as you open the vial will literally fill your entire kitchen!!  Plus, you use literally a quarter of what you would normally use.  I know!!

So, enjoy my friends as I sample another cupcake... I mean, I must, I must make sure they are perfection, yes?




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Shared with: Foodie Friends Friday

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chocolate Ganache cupcakes with Cherry Cheesecake


My daughter and I created these luscious beauties on Saturday in preparation for our Fathers Day gathering.
They are amazingly moist, chocolatey and decadent!!  With just the right amount of richness without them being overpowering, and the milk chocolate ganache?  Oh my heaven's... we will leave it at that!!  Next add the cherry cheesecake??   *insert bells*
What we love about them even more is the simplicity and ease of this recipe by using boxed cake mix and no bake cheesecake mix. 

Ready for the recipe?

Here we go:

Ingredients:

1 Box Devils Food cake mix
1 8oz plain Greek yogurt
1 pkg No Bake Cherry Cheesecake mix
1 pkg milk chocolate chips

1-1/2 cups  cream
6-8 maraschino cherries, patted dry and quartered

Directions:
Prepare your no bake cheesecake filling.
Follow instructions on package regarding milk and setting time. While cheesecake is setting, open up your package of cherries, place in a bowl, and using a very, very sophisticated method "aka a fork", scoop out the big pieces of cherries and discard. Reason we do this is that the bigger pieces of cherries will not pipe thru, it will clog your tip.
   When cheesecake filling is set, fold in your cherries and set in fridge till ready to use.





Prepare cake mix according to baking directions substituting the "oil" in the recipe and adding the yogurt instead.  Yogurt really enhances a recipe by literally allowing it to be denser but still keeping it very moist.  This was exactly the flavor and consistency we were aiming for... a dense, moist decadent piece of goodness!!  Place liners in your cupcake tins and add your cake mixture till the cups are 2/3 full.  Place in preheated oven and bake.  When cupcakes are ready, take out and place on cooking rack.  After a few minutes you can remove the cups and place directly on cooking rack, let cool thoroughly, about 35-45 minutes.
Can we talk about cupcake liners for a second?  What has happened to the cupcake liners?  I now have to pre-spray all my liners so they don't stick!!  Whatever happened to the liners you would place without prep or fuss and they would hold their shape and not stick to the food?  Ugh, another rant another day...


 Once cupcakes have cooled, use your favorite gadget to make holes into the center of each cupcake.  Even though I recently purchased a cupcake plunger, I reverted back to my citrus corer.  It makes just the right size hole... does that make sense?  Maybe I'm just old fashioned!! ;-)
Save your plugs. 
Using a pastry bag and a 21 tip (Wilton), scoop out 1/2 of your cherry cheesecake filling, place in a bag, and proceed to fill cupcakes till almost to the top, see below.




 
Proceed to plug the filling with the cake plugs you just removed. You will probably have to cut some away because of the now filled cupcakes,  you won't need the entire plug.







Prepare your ganache.  Pour cream in a small saucepan, let cream warm to almost high but not boiling, if it boils it will spill over, you don't want that, it's messy as all get out.  While cream is warming, place your chocolate chips in a medium bowl.  When cream is ready pour hot cream over chocolate chips and using a whisk, stir.  Continue stirring till chocolate ganache becomes nice and glossy and smooth, this is when you know it's ready. 
Note, ganache thickens upon standing.  So, you can frost them two ways; you can dip the top of the cupcakes into the ready made more thinner ganache, wait a few minutes and then double dip.  Or you can wait a few minutes till the sauce has thickend a little bit and then dip once.  That is my preferred method (you know I'm about easy right)? Place on cooling rack and let ganache set for a few minutes.




Gather your maraschino cherries and the remainder of your cheesecake filling in pastry bag.

Place a small swirl of filling onto the center of each cupcake and then add a quartered maraschino cherry on top!





Go ahead... take a bite

Yield:  18 Cupcakes


 Till next time!!

Disclaimer:  I have never been professionally trained for either cooking or baking. This is for enjoyment only.

Dishin with Didi

Monday, June 18, 2012

Baked Brie in Puff Pastry (Brie en Croute) with Caramelized Onions



I really wasn't planning on posting a recipe for this to be quite honest, so I am not prepared with my usual step by step photos. 

I received a few emails from readers asking me to post the recipe for the Brie in puff pastry. Love, love emails and comments!!
A couple of readers have events coming up they want to make it for, a few more love Brie in puff pastry and wanted my recipe.
I make Brie in puff pastry quite often for many reasons, with different fillings. 

First off the presentation of the finished product is NEXT TO NONE!!  Secondly it's so darn easy, and third but most important... IT'S DELICIOUS!!!
Flaky, buttery pastry dough... gooey delicious cheese, what's not to love?


Ready for the recipe?

Here we go:

Ingredients:
1 Sheet puff pastry thawed (can be found in the freezer section with frozen pie crusts etc)
1 egg beaten
1/4 cup (56.7 gr) apple jelly
2 large onions that have been caramelized
2 Brie logs or 1 Brie round
flour for rolling pastry sheet out.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400F (204-218 C).  On a flat surface sprinkle your flour, top with your pastry dough and sprinkle a little bit more flour on the dough as well.  Roll out into a large rectangle.  Don't worry if your sheet is imperfect, you will be rolling this onto itself. 
Spread your apple jelly around the center area only on you pastry sheet, add your caramelized onions and last place your cheese over the onions.

At this point slice off a strip of dough so you can create designs of your liking on the top if so desired and set aside.
Brush the beaten egg all around the outer edges of the pastry dough.  Take one edge and fold over the cheese towards the  middle.  Take both bottom end edges and fold toward the center as well, and lastly fold over the remaining edge and press firmly down to seal.

Carefully lift the puff pastry and flip over onto a non stick baking sheet.  Brush egg mixture all around the pastry (this gives it an amazing glow).  If so desired shape your strip of reserved dough into whatever shape and place on pastry puff, brush with more beaten egg and place in oven.


Bake for 22-25 minutes till nicely golden brown.  Now, here is the hard part... are you ready?  You have to wait almost an hour before you can cut into this tantalizing creation!!  Yes, yes, you read correctly.  The reason is because the brie has literally melted, so if you cut into it while still super hot, all the cheese will literally ouze out!  Makes sense yes?  So wait just a little and admire it lovingly from afar, knowing full well in almost an hour, you will be sinking your teeth into the most flakiest, buttery, gooey, cheesey log of love!!!



Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day


Happy Father's Day!!  Enjoy and celebrate the amazing father's in you lives!!  I would give everything just to be able to hug and kiss my dad again.  He passed when I was just 13!!

I'm having a get together with the parents this afternoon.  I'm keeping the menu simple...

Appetizers:  Brie logs in puff pastry with dried cranberries, chips & salsa
Main: Chicken tenderloins with my raspberry chipotle chicken sauce, hamburgers and bratwursts, Diane's potato salad, my famous baked beans & green beans with spec
Dessert: Patriotic Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream & Fudge cupcakes with cherry cheesecake filling (both recipes will be shared soon), fresh strawberries
Beverages: Iced tea, sodas, beer & wine


So enjoy your time with the special men in your lives, respect and cherish them always...

Till next time!


Dishin with Didi

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Creole Baked Chicken with a Twist

Amazingly moist and loaded with flavor...

Ever come home and have NO IDEA what you are going to make for dinner?  Is it just me? 
As much as I preach "pre-planning", it doesn't mean I abide by it all the time, trust me... heck, I'm human ya know!!   


That being said, in times like these I rely heavily on my fully stocked SPICE CABINET!!  You can take simple boneless chicken breasts and turn them into a gourmet delight with just a few simple ingredients in your spice cabinet.  Whether you are using "fresh herbs" or dried spices, you are basically creating an old, or new, gourmet delight!!  Embrace your spices, your fresh herbs... they are your friends, THEY LOVE YOU!!  They will do whatever you tell them to do, they just need direction and guidance.
Since this is a "love fest", I love you too!!! 


So, last night my friends, was one of those nights.  I'm like, "UGH, REALLY"??  I glanced over at hubby, he looked at me and said, "you want to go out baby, we can, or do you want take out"? 
The guilt trip set in and I responded with, "I'll come up with something"! <sigh>  I went to my emergency idea inspiring area, aka; "Cafe Frappe" ingredients.  Yes, yes I did.  I made myself a huge iced coffee with plenty of foam!!  At that point I literally felt the fog diminish in my brain, the ideas were rolling, not quite there, but the cobwebs were extinguishing.   I walked over to my freezers and proceed to eye the contents in distaste!  I shut all freezer doors and went to the pantry for ingredients to make my homemade Spanish Rice.  Cumin, tomatoes, olive oil, paprika, onion, garlic.... ah yes, food of the God's I say!!
Chicken, rice??  You see where I'm going with this now?

I quickly pulled out and defrosted boneless skinless chicken breasts, added the most amazing spice, and placed in the oven to bake.  Meanwhile I made a salad.  The Spanish rice was cooking wonderfully and the aroma emanating from the baking chicken?  OUT OF THIS WORLD!!
I'm so glad we didn't go out!!  We had an amazing dinner, and awesome leftovers for lunch today!



Amzing spice!!


That being said, can we talk about "heat" for a moment??  I love heat, LOVE IT!!  However, I do not like heat that I have to take a towel to my forehead, reach for a glass of water and make the "UNIVERSAL SIGN" for choking.  Nope, nope, that does not do it for me!
I do not enjoy the feeling of being choked and not being able to breathe, that give me no pleasure...
What gives me pleasure is even tempered flavored with a slight or sometimes even bigger kick.  When you least expect that kick, or a kick with an edge... does that make sense? I love a savory kick like;  Make Ahead Chicken Black Bean Enchiladas
Or a sweet kick like; Raspberry Chipotle Chicken
That is how this Creole Chicken is...
It's savory, moist, the savory flavors blend wonderfully together, and then you get a kick... YES!  Well in this case a big "kick" but an absolutely delicious one!
Ready for the recipe?  Here we go:

Ingredients:
1 pkg (4.5lbs) boneless skinless chicken breasts
3-4 Tbls Mr. Pete's Cajun Cajun Seasoning
2 tsp Granulated Garlic
2 tsp Onion powder
1/3 cup good quality olive oil
*few sheets of tin foil*

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F.  In a 13 x 9 pan or baking sheet, sprinkle half of your seasonings onto your pan.  Lay your chicken breasts over and wiggle for a second or so.  This is the easiest way of ensuring both sides of your chicken get coated with seasonings... "hey, I'm all about easy"!!
Sprinkle the rest of your seasonings over the top of the chicken breasts.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Cover with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes till nicely golden.  *Covering with tin foil for the most of the baking time ensures the most moist chicken pieces ever*. 




My other tidbit of cooking chit chat, is to drizzle the baking juices of the chicken ON the chicken slices or whole breast.  The flavor of the seasoned baked juices is literally next to none... take a look at this spoonful of delicious goodness!!!



My final words of advice is to not give up, don't raise that "white flag"...  Sometimes we all draw a blank, we can't think, nothing sounds good and you can't figure out for the life of you what you're in the mood for!!
Grab yourself your favorite "idea inspiring beverage" and know YOU CAN do this, seriously you can...


Till next time!!


Dishin with Didi

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Steak & Bacon Rolls - Reminiscing my first cooking competition...

Steak & Bacon Rolls
 I started my new work hours this week, YAY!!  My new hours and position allows me to once again create new recipes, tweak old family favorites, and... enter cooking/baking competitions!!  That being said, I went on a reminiscing journey this afternoon.  I remembered my very first cooking competition experience which ultimately led me on this amazing culinary adventure of mine!! 
For most of you that are regular readers, you are aware that I LOVE to entertain. I adore cooking and baking, it is literally a creative outlet for me… a true passion that is “never” labor intensive!!
So, having been inspired by another blog, I entered a recipe for the Sugardale BAC-ON competition being held at the Ohio State fair in Columbus OH.
I figured, “what the heck, what is the worst that can happen, they’ll send me a coupon”!

Fast forward a few weeks later I get THE phone call from the Sugardale rep that I was one of the 30 semi-finalists followed with an email. 
Our recipes were judged on creativity, orginality, ease of preparation etc. They wanted me to fill out papers once I received them (they FedEx them), have them notarized and send them back within 7 days. Once they received my papers “their chefs” would re-create my dish and present it to a panel of professional judges. 
The judges would then critique it based on appearance,taste etc. 
If it passed that part, then "I" moved on to become one of nine semi-finalists. There were 3 categories;   Ready Bacon, Appetizers/Entertaining and Main Dish. I was Main Dish, my recipe was “Steak & Bacon Rolls”.
About 2 weeks later, I was notified that I was one of the 9 SEMI-FINALISTS!!! Yooohoooo, jump up and down, cheer, fist pump!!!!!  WAIT, hold on… OMG!!!! ANXIETY!!! 
"I can’t do this” I tell myself, what was I thinking????
My family (bless them all, because I am so not the easiest person to live with), was in ernest attempting to calm me in-between my fits of hysteria!!

Fast forward to rehearsal day.  Can I just preface this and tell you guys how much I LOVE MY BUTCHER!! He's the best!! He cut my pre-ordered flank steak to the thinness that I needed for a “quicker cooking time”. The butcher shop was also rooting for me!!
When I found out I was one of the 9 semi-finalists, I promptly went to my butcher to get flank steak in order for a trial run. They were out of flank steak. Huh?? You’re a butcher, how can you be out of flank steak?? Seriously??? I quickly explained to the butcher's niece why I needed flank steak, what it was for… and very quickly I became the butcher shops celebrity! ;-)
Nevertheless, for the trial run I substituted skirt steak (not the same, but flatness is what I was looking for), and promptly came home to a calamity of errors!  Everything that could of go wrong for this trial run, DID!! By the end of the night, hubby had quit trying to approach me (bless the patience of this man), the dogs were in hiding and the girls were LOCKED in their rooms with IPODS and pretending they were on a Greek Island somewhere!! 
I was a mess!!  Tears streaming from my eyes, basically knowing I can’t do this, and what was I thinking! Didn’t sleep all night, kept going over the time requirements and what I could of done differently.
Tried it once more on Saturday, SUCCESS!!! YES!! All time limits were met and the dish was amazing!! 


Fast forward to the competition;
We arrived at the Ohio State Fair, and were in the wrong gate, can’t find the Main Stage, you know where I'm going with this….
I’m freaking out, family is BACKING AWAY AND HATING ME!! *insert evil grin*
We finally find the stage, and then... is where I meet the most AMAZING, SWEET AND TALENTED people ever!! They were so friendly, and just sweet and kind!!  They were from various parts of the country and we were all there to do what we love... cook!!  I was next to such talent, it blew me away!!



This is where my *Diana and I first arrived*
We were third on the venue. We waited and cheered and had our fingers crossed!! We were literally melting, it was hotter than blazes that day!! UGH
Prep area, notice the hot plate...
Finally, my turn to prep. I go to the prep area and… there is a hot plate staring at me!!!  I have 30 minutes to prep and it took the blessed hotplate 13 minutes to HEAT… PANIC TIME!!! It was a domino (what the heck effect) at this point.  Diana took the parsley to the stage thinking it was garnish, it was for my stuffing, the bacon wasn’t cooking fast enough…. on and on and on.
On stage, the camera guy was filming what I was doing, I was constantly being asked questions by the MC, and I was SWEATING because it was so hot and I NEVER SWEAT!!

All in all, even though I didn’t place, I wouldn’t take back that experience for all the money in the world! It was an amazing experience!!  Just meeting such wonderful, talented people was payback in itself!!
Did the fact that I didn’t place deter me? No, it actually encouraged/motivated me to try harder, plan for mishaps and READ, READ, READ the fine print re: cooking times etc.
This was a dream come true for me, and I was honored and amazed to even be competing!!
Thank you Sugardale, love their bacon!! ;-)

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go!!

Ingredients:

2 to 2-1/4lbs Flank steak
4 Tsp yellow mustard
1 lb Sugardale Bacon (8 slices whole, 8 slices diced)
1 green pepper diced
1/4 c fresh parsley diced
2 medium onions diced
2 eggs
2 Tbls butter
Salt & Pepper for seasoning
1/2 c Water


Directions:
• On a clean flat service cut the flank steak into four (4) 3″ strips. Salt & pepper both sides. Spread 1 tsp. mustard over each steak. Lay on two whole raw slices of bacon on each steak. Set aside.

• In a saute pan, add the diced bacon and start to saute. Once the bacon is starting to crisp add 1 cup of diced onions (reserving the rest), saute for 1-2 minutes or till onions are starting to soften. Add the diced green peppesr. Saute mixture till bacon is nicely brown and veggies have softened but not carmelized. Remove from heat and let mixture cool. Place cooled bacon & veggie mixture into a bowl and add the eggs. Mix well.
.
• Spoon bacon & veggie mixture evenly over the bacon covered steaks. Spread mixture making sure it doesn’t overlap the edges of the steaks.
• Carefully roll steaks “jelly roll” style and secure ends with wooden skewers or large toothpicks (this will be a little messy).
.
• Salt & pepper steak rolls and set aside.

• On the stovetop, using a dutch oven (or other heavy duty pan with lid), over medium high heat add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the steak rolls seam side down and sear them.  Rotate steaks till all sides are nicely seared.

• Remove the steaks from the dutch oven and place on a plate. Using the same dutch oven, add the reserved onions and place the steak rolls back on top of the diced onions.

• Add the water, lower the heat to medium low and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

• Remove cover, rotate steaks and continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

• This makes an awesome gravy to serve over mashed potatoes
Till next time!


Dishin with Didi

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Easy Grilled Zucchini Sidedish

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Grab your knife and fork...
Doesn't this look delicious??  This a very simple and easy side dish; "grilled zucchini with cheese".



Today my hubby was finishing the total redo of one of our bathrooms.  The man is a genius I tell you.  His craftsmanship is NEXT to none!!!
He was working away on the bathroom remodel.  I was working away cleaning the house and doing the "girlie" stuff!!
Come dinner time I really didn't have a plan to be honest.  It was one of those "go by the seat of your pants" kinda day!
I looked into the freezer and nothing keened my interest... <sigh>
Then I spotted "lamb chops".  I was like "YES"!!!  I pulled them out, defrosted them in the sink and quickly marinated them with tons of fresh garlic, thyme, fresh oregano, lemon juice and olive oil.  I then baked them @ 375F for approximately 30 minutes turning over half way.



 
As hubby was vacuuming the dust off the new walls in the bathroom, I was slicing the fresh picked zucchini from the local farmer's market.
I let them sit in a bath of water till ready to use.
I pulled out my stove top grill; brushed these babies with olive oil and my favorite garlic seasoning.





I then grilled them and when pulled off the grill added about 2 tablespoons of grated cheese to each one.  The flavor is amazing and just downright outta this world!!!  You can taste the slight sweetness of the zucchini, coupled with the garlic spices and then the tangy cheese, all grilled into one!!  Superb I say!!





Ready for the recipe?  Here we go:

Ingredients:
3 medium zucchini sliced vertically into thirds
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon favorite garlic seasoning ( I used garlic pepper)
1/2 cup favorite sharp cheese shredded ( Queso Fresco, Kefalotiri, Parmesan, Romano)

Directions:
Slice your zucchini into thirds.  Set aside.  Heat your grill to medium low.  Brush both sides of your zucchini slices with olive oil, sprinkle on your seasoning. Grill one side till nice grill marks develop (about 2-3 minutes), turn over, cook on the other side.  Turn sides once more till zucchini is soft but still slightly firm, you don't want a soggy zucchini!   Remove from heat, place on platter and sprinkle your cheese over the grilled zucchini.  The cheese will melt nicely simply from the heat of the zucchini.

How easy was this,  yes?  Simple, elegant and delicious!

I wanted to take a picture of both the lamb chops and zucchini together (I had a nice french baguette I sliced as well), but my mom dropped in.  She came bearing fresh grape leaves, so all was forgiven! Dinner was served and they loved the zucchini as much as the lamb chops, now that is saying something right there!!

I do want to share with you the funny scenario when they appeared at the door with the grape leaves.  She said, "for you my baby, so you can make dolmathakia, I know you love to cook like your mommy"!!  Notice the double sided compliment there!
I said, "thank you mama, but they are not blanched nor placed in brine".   I then proceeded to look at my step dad and all three of us burst out laughing!!  He took the grape leaves back and I will receive them washed, blanched and in brine!!  YES! *double fist pump*  I have them trained!!

Enjoy the zucchini my friends, especially now since it will be in abundance.

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mediterranean Eggs - Eggs with Tomatoes (gluten free)

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When I came home yesterday afternoon I was so tired, I mean beyond tired!!  I still had to make dinner and get ready for Diana's award ceremony!  I needed something very quick, delicious and easy!!  Hey, that's the name of "my game"!!
I reverted back to my childhood (of course I did)! I turned to amazingly fast and easy fresh tomatoes, good olive oil, tangy cheese, eggs and your freshest of herbs.
This will turn into an outstanding easy dinner for breakfast that is full of Mediterranean flavor!  I love this dish, and have 
served it many times to my children and they "as well" love it...

Call it heritage, call it dinner with love, call it FAST AND SIMPLE!  You can call it whatever you want, but I guarantee that once you make this dish, your family will also love it and will ask for more!!
The flavors of the Mediterranean!!
Can it get any easier than that??

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go:


Ingredients:

3 medium vine ripened tomatoes
2 medium baked potatoes (boiled) - diced
3 1/2 tablespoons (52 1/2 ml) olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup (22 gr) Kefalotiri cheese grated (a good sharp cheese such as Romano is perfect if one cannot find Kefalotiri cheese)   "what is Kefalotiri"
1/3 cup (30 gr) grated Mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon butter (15 gr)

6 basil leaves (or other fresh herbs with stems of choice)
6 large eggs
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of salt

Directions:

Gather your ingredients:
 

In your large saute pan  with cover, add your 1 tablespoon (15 gr) of butter over medium high heat.
Once your butter had melted, add your diced potatoes and saute till very lightly brown on all sides, approximately 5-6 minutes.  Turn off heat and set aside.



As your potatoes are browning nicely, add your roughly chopped tomatoes into
your mini food chopper.  Also add 1 tablespoon (15ml) of your olive oil, garlic
clove and a pinch of salt & pepper.  Pulse till tomatoes are nicely pureed. 

 Set aside.
Now pour your pureed tomato mixture over the nicely golden potatoes.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil and let cook down for 5-7 minutes over medium low heat. Once tomato mixture has cooked down, gently make 6 openings with your spatula.  Crack an egg into each opening and cover each yolk with a basil leaf or fresh herb of choice (thyme, marjoram).



I couldn't figure out why my mom would use fresh herbs to add over the egg yolks.  As I grew older I finally figured it out... they are "poaching" the eggs with the fresh herbs!  How totally beyond smart are "our" parents? I know right?  I love old fashioned techniques... THEY ROCK!

Now, we cover and turn down the heat to very low.  Depending on your preference on how your family likes their eggs cooked is how long you will be cooking the eggs.  We like ours over medium, so it's about another 34-45 seconds on low heat covered.  Turn off heat.  Sprinkle your cheese over each egg yolk, cover once more till cheese melts nicely!!



Uncover, scoop mixture with a spatula into pizza like portions.
Serve with your favorite crusty bread or toast points, and a slice of bacon if so desired.

**Note: The time stated above gives you over medium eggs.  If you want softer eggs lessen the cooking cover time, if you like them cooked more increase.


This is a no fail recipe that is made in about 20 minutes...






Doesn't this look absolutely scrumptious?  See the golden diced potatoes edging thru?  The gooey melted gourmet cheeses?
Go ahead, grab a toast point and dunk!


Till next time!!


Dishin with Didi