What To Do With

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Greek Salad Pita Sandwich




Patrick says that one of the reasons he married me, or rather, fell in love with me, was because of my skills with a well composed sandwich.

Patrick and I gave up pasta, bread and potatoes about a year ago but sometimes we break the rules and go back to the perfect designed sandwich.

I believe very strongly in the perfect sandwich. Attention to detail, layering and sauces. They all add up to create a deliciously balanced lunch, dinner or snack.

I usually use last nights dinner as inspiration for my sandwich of the day.

Today I used left over greek chicken. I put together a small greek salad and that was that. A perfect lunch.

In a bowl combine cut tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, cucumber slices, feta cheese, olive oil salt and pepper. Add some chopped mint and parsley. You could also add some olives. Mix and combine all the flavors well.

Heat your pita for about 30 seconds in the microwave. Lay down some Tzaziki, add your chicken and salad mixture and enjoy.







Friday, August 27, 2010

A little Inspiration for Saturday or Sunday Morning...









Wild Mushroom, thyme and Bacon Scrambled Eggs in Vol Au Vent Pastry!

3 frozen vol au vent pastry shells cooked as per instructions.
3 strips of organic bacon cooked and crumbled.
6 organic eggs
2 sprigs of thyme stems removed
6 oyster mushrooms( or any mushrooms you may have)
3 green onion finely chopped
salt and pepper

Cook vol au vent in oven as per instructions.
In a pan cook bacon. Set aside.
In the same pan add green onion and thyme.
Add mushrooms and cook about 2 minutes.
Add eggs.
Season
Spoon egg mixture evenly into vol au vent pastry.
Garnish with bacon and fresh thyme.

Serve!



Thursday, August 26, 2010

IT"S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL!




One important detail I love about the Montessori World is that in essence, it is a world made smaller for little people!

Everything becomes easier when portions, sizes, and even words are made smaller.

Mini plums for snacking.

I have found some great "mini" portions of certain foods that make all meals more of a joy!

Here are some examples.


An assortment of mini bagels to build sandwiches and snacks.

Cream cheese & Apple

Peanut Butter & Jelly

Cream cheese, smoked salmon & capers.
Butter & cheese.
Peanut butter & banana.
Hummus.
Cream cheese, honey & raisins.
Tomato, onion & cheese.
Eggplant spread, roasted red pepper spread, avocado refried beans!


Mini Pasta Mexican Soup- A classic in my kitchen
Take half an onion and 4 large tomatoes. (2 cups pureed tomatoes) puree in a blender
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauce pan.
Add 1 cup mini pasta.
Add tomato and onion puree.
Season.
Add 4 cups of vegetable broth or water.
Cook about 15 -20 minutes.

Helping Hands

Maria Montessori stresses the importance of children's hands in the classroom and in real life. Getting children to be a part of the dinner process allows them to connect with the food they eat and allows them to be helpful and creative in the kitchen.

Here, the kids peel corn to help make the salsa for the Tilapia.




Tilapia with Corn & Fruit Salsa
Season fish with salt and pepper.
Cook fresh summer corn and remove kernels when cooked.
In a bowl combine, corn, raspberries, diced peach, diced cucumber, finely sliced basil and feta cheese.
Grill or pan fry fish. Serve with salsa.





Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Abu's Lentil Soup







My dad is a surgeon. He uses his hands with precision and detail. I don't often find him in the kitchen but when I do I put his skills to work!

He cuts the vegetables exactly the same size which makes for a perfectly cooked soup.


Abu knows how to make three things in the kitchen. One is Mexican red rice, the other is lentilsoup, and the most important of course are quesadillas! (recipes to follow)

This soup is great for entertaining friends for lunch, a light dinner or a cozy mid afternoon snack.

Entertaining friends or...
A cozy mid afternoon snack.


4 baby carrots cut into thin small slices
1 celery stalk finely diced
1 medium potato very finely diced
1 leek very finely diced
1 onion finely diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1/4 teaspooon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 teaspooon ground celery seed
1/4 teaspoon oregano mexican or otherwise
1 bay leaf
2 cups french du puy lentils or 1 can organic lentils in a can
8 cups of vegetable broth

Add all diced vegetables to a medium sized stock pot with about 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Cook 4-6 minutes over medium heat
Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground celery seed.
Cook for another 4-6 minutes.
Add broth and bay leaf.
Cook fresh lentil soup for about 45 minutes-1 hour.
Cook canned lentils 30-35 minutes to absorb all flavors.

Serve with shaved parmesan cheese, a drizzle of spicy olive oil and a sprig of fresh parsley.





Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Roasted red Peppers






Paolo's Roasted Red Peppers

It was hard for Patrick and I to come home from Italy and not find the usual foods we were so priveleged to enjoy in Italy. The fresh flavors, the labor that went into making foods from scratch, the home cooking. We missed it all.

However, we were invited to our friend Paolo's for dinner one night and we were so pleasantly surprised to find the entire dinner cooked from scratch. We were very excited and the food was tremendous. The memory of that dinner is still very much alive in both our minds.

Paolo made some roasted peppers that were so simple and flavorful. This is the recipe I put together from that night. Not the exact recipe, but close enough I think!

We miss you Paolo!

By the way if you happen to be following this blog please correct or update the pepper recipe. We also want your Tiramisu recipe.
By far the best Tiramisu I have ever had, and I have had a lot of Tiramisu in my lifetime!!!

Roasted Red Peppers

6 Long Red peppers (tend to be sweeter)
2 Yellow Peppers
or any combination of red, yellow, orange peppers.
4 cloves of garlic smashed
6 Basil leaves thinly sliced
1 tablespoon regular cooking Olive oil
Good quality Oilve oil
Fleur de sel
Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Wash peppers and place whole on baking sheet.
Drizzle with regular cooking olive oil.

Roast in oven about 15-20 minutes or until skins turn black.



Allow to cool.
Remove skins and seeds from flesh. (some seeds can stay)
Cut peppers into thin strips.
Place in a bowl with crushed garlic and mix well.
Add 1/2 cup good quality olive oil.
Add freshly cut basil leaves.


These peppers are delicious on their own or served with little toasts.
I usually have them out when I serve cheese, or for cocktail hour!

The longer they sit the more flavorful they become! You can store them in the fridge and take them out to rest at room temperature about 1/2 an hour before serving.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Heavenly Petite Peach Cakes
















There is something about a peach that brings out many emotions for me.
The sweet juicy taste of your first summer peach means endless hours of summer fun. I remember long lazy days with my sisters by the river. I remember my first crush on the boy down the street. I remember fresh cut grass. I remember my youngest sister dancing in the summer rain.

It also conjures up emotions of my first summers at the lake with Patrick. Red wet suits, hazy heat waves, blueberry goop and peach cobblers.

I love a summer peach!

Here is a recipe we worked on this summer a couple of nights in a row. These little cakes are delicious and served to guests in individual ramekins.

The original recipe called for making them as cup cakes! We preferred the thinner cake version-more peach less cake!

The "unpretty cupcake"!





To make the cupcake version, follow this recipe exactly including the buttering and flouring process, but bake them in cupcake tins as opposed to ramekins. Next time, to make the cupcakes look a little prettier I would take the time to cut the parchment paper in rounds that fit the bottom of each. Or, use a non stick cupcake pan.

Heavenly Petite Peach Cakes

For the Peaches
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 pound of peaches about 6
3 tablespoons of light brown sugar

For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons (3/4) sticks of butter (softened)
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 egg yolks

preheat oven to 350 degrees.


For Ramekins:
Butter each ramekin.
Lay a torn piece of parchment paper down to line the dish. ( people often cut out circles the same size of the dish and lay it flat. I find that to be an extra step that I can avoid).
Butter parchment paper and lightly flour each ramekin shaking off excess flour.

For the Peaches:
Step 1
Cut an x at the bottom of each peach.
Submerge in boiling water for 30 seconds.
Remove peaches and transfer to a bowl of cold water with ice.
Peel peaches.
Cut into wedges.

Step 2:
Melt tablespoon of butter in skillet over medium heat.
Add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar.
Stir until bubbling about 2 minutes.
Cut peaches will yield about 2 cups.
Add 2 cups fresh peaches to skillet.
Stir occasionally about 8 minutes.
Once caramelized- transfer into ramekins.






For the Cake:
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
In a separate bowl whisk together milk and vanilla.
In another bowl beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.
Add yolks one at a time beating well after each addition.
Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk mixture alternatively.
Be sure to begin and end with the flour mixture.




Spoon batter over caramelized peaches.
Bake until golden brown about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool only 2-3 minutes.
(if you allow the cakes to cool too long, the peaches will stick to the parchment paper and will become more difficult to invert.
Invert cakes onto plates and serve with unsweetened whipped cream or ice cream.

SHORTCUTS:

This is a process, but well worth the effort.
To cut corners simply change the fruit to a simpler fruit that does not need to be scored, blanched, peeled and cut.
Try blueberries, pineapple, raspberries etc.
Another shortcut I use which ends just as beautifully and gives me fantastic results is to use your favorite store bought already prepared cake or cup cake mix.
Barefoot Contessa, Stonewall Kitchen and even good old fashioned Betty Crocker are all good substitutions.
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