Insalata Caprese

Sometimes less is more….. and that is never more true than it is in food.  If you start with really fresh and good quality products and don’t mess with them too much, you can achieve gastronomic perfection.

A classic example is the mozzarella and tomato salad known as Insalata Caprese.

Beautiful heirloom tomatoes.  It is really nice to use different varieties and colors.

Fabulous mozzarella!!!  It is so soft and creamy and delicious.

Slice them up to really see the vibrant colors.

The sliced cheese and the fresh, fresh basil add to the flavors.

Place it all together and drizzle a simple vinaigrette  and enjoy.

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Sweet Pea Soup with Mint

When I went to the market yesterday, I was looking for a vegetable to make a nice soup.  To my surprise, I found some fresh English peas.  It almost seemed a shame to put them in soup, but…I had a hankering for some soup.

Sweet Pea Soup with Mint

1 shallot chopped

2 cups fresh English peas preferred but frozen can work as well

1 small bunch of mint

1/4 cup of orange juice

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Saute the shallots in the olive oil until translucent.   Add peas and water to cover the peas.  Add a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until the peas are just tender, about 5 minutes.  Frozen peas only take 3 minutes.  Place the peas and the mint in a blender, add the orange juice and enough of the cooking water to create the consistency needed.  Add salt and pepper as needed.  This can be served either hot or cold.

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Garlic Shrimp- Camarones al ajillo

Shrimp

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 10 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 pound raw, peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 4 small dried chile de arbol or your favorite dry chile
  • 1/2 cup Sherry
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil.  Add garlic and sauté for a few minutes.  Do not let it brown or the garlic will become bitter.   Add the shrimp and the chili pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes then turn the shrimp over and cook another 2 minutes.  Pour in the Sherry and cook for a few more minutes.  Be careful not to over cook the shrimp.  Add the parsley and serve.  Make sure you have some good bread to soak up the yummy sauce.

 

Blanched tomatoes

  • 15 ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/3 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
  • 3 ounces lump crab meat (check for shells)
  • salt and pepper

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Set up a bowl of ice water.  Cut a small X in the bottom of the tomatoes.  Blanch the tomatoes in the water for 10 seconds and then place in the ice water.  When they cool, slice off the tops remove the skin and hallow out the seeds.  Set aside.

hallowed out tomatoes

In a bowl combine the mustard, parsley, mayonnaise, olive oil, and  vinegar.  Fold in the crabmeat. Salt and pepper. Stuff the tomatoes with the crab mixture and serve.

stuffed tomato

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The best thing about Risotto is what you can do with the leftovers.  I’m not sure what I like better, the risotto or the arancini.  This is also known as Suppli al Telefono for the long strings of cheese the are evident when you cut them.

raw aranciniLeft over risotto (see previous post)                                                                                                                                               Mozzarella  cheese, cut into 1/2 inch dice                                                                                                                                            flour, beaten egg and dried bread crumbs for dredging

Form the risotto into walnut size balls.  Using your finger, make a hole in the ball and place the mozzarella.  Shape the ball around the cheese.  Dredge the balls first in the flour, then the egg and finally the bread crumbs.  Fry them in hot oil until browned.  If you don’t want the oil, you can bake them in the oven but they sure taste better fried.  Serve while still hot and the cheese is still melted.

cooked aranciniarancini and salad

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Omelet

tomatoes and parsley

Eggs can play various roles, but in an Omelet they really star.  Omelet’s can be great for breakfast, brunch and even supper.  You can add cheese, herbs, vegetables.  Pretty much what ever you like.

sauteing omelette

I like to use 2 eggs per person and I beat them with just a splash of milk and salt and pepper.  It is imperative to use a non stick pan and some butter or oil.  Add what ever other ingredients you prefer.  Once the eggs are set and the bottom is browned, fold over in half.  Serve while still hot.

Omelette foldOmelette and soup

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Trudy’s Red Bell Pepper Soup

Red Bell peppers
This was a favorite of my mother’s.  It was a recipe given to her by a longtime family friend from Mexico. Trudy is a wonderful hostess.  This is a great soup for a party.   And we Mexicans really love to entertain. The addition of the orange juice makes it very interesting.

Peppers saute

Red Bell Pepper Soup

3 Red Bell Peppers
1 onion
1 Tablespoon butter
½ cup milk
1 cup water
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup white wine , optional
dash oregano
dash sage
dash Chicken bullion

Chop onion and peppers.  Sauté until translucent.  Put all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  Can be served hot or cold.

Red pepper soup

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Cheese Straws

This is a great thing to do with left over pastry.  It is super with soup but is also good as an appetizer.  It’s very easy to do.

Unbaked cheese straws

Cut left over rolled out pastry dough into strips of about 1/4 ” thick.  Take string cheese and cut into strips that are the same thickness as the pastry.  Starting at one end roll the pastry around the cheese until it is all covered.  Pinch the ends.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle a dash of paprika.  Place in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Enjoy!

Baked cheese strawCheese straws and soup

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