Recipes

California Caprese-Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, and Avocado

August 17, 2014
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It’s the middle of August and my tomatoes are almost done. I’ve had a banner year in terms of yield, but since I planted in April and we have an early growing season, almost everything came ripe at once in July. I always say I’m going to stagger the planting, but I never do because I’m so enthralled by choice when at the nursery. Better Boy? Green Zeebra? Lemon Boy? Brandywine? San Marzano? Why yes, I’ll take one of each please.

tomatoes

This is about 2 weeks worth of tomatoes in July.

Since I don’t can my tomatoes, I mostly make sauce and soup and freeze it. I also freeze peeled and seeded tomatoes. And we eat lots and lots of fresh tomatoes in salads, on bagels, in sandwiches (best BLT ever), but the caprese is probably our favorite way of eating fresh tomatoes. The traditional Insalata Caprese originated …

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Emulsified Sauces and How to make Hollandaise

August 10, 2014
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Emulsified sauces are one part chemistry, one part culinary magic. Take two ingredients which, “like oil and water”, should not blend together, and with a little effort, they become one delicious whole.

An emulsified sauce is literally the blending of fat (butter or oil) and water (wine, vinegar or egg yolk- which is more than 50% water). Combine them together with heat, centrifugal force, or just a vigorous whisk and you suddenly have one sauce where there were once two separate ingredients which typically do not play well together.

The scientific term for this refusal to mix is “immiscible” which is defined as two liquids that are incapable of being mixed, caused by surface tension between two molecules. However, when it comes to emulsified sauces, there are other forces at play (heat and/or movement) which will cause one part to incorporate into the other.

The best known emulsified …

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Grilled Zucchini with Toasted Fennel Seed Vinaigrette

August 2, 2014
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Are you knee deep in zucchini? If you have a garden, it’s that time of year. I learned a long time ago that unless I want to feed an army, buying a six pack of zucchini seedlings is a mistake and will result in friends and neighbors running the other way when they see you in the street with an armful of large green squash. Leaving said squash on doorsteps in the dead of night is another option of course, but may not endear you to your neighbors.

Still, every year we grow one plant and that’s more than enough for us to eat, and to share with family and friends. The growing season is early here; we planted in April and were harvesting the first zucchini in early June. It was so hot in July the plant almost gave up, but this week it seemed to regenerate, giving us …

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Steak au Poivre

July 12, 2014
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Like most classic dishes, steak au poivre has as many versions as there are colors in a jumbo box of crayons. Food historians think that the dish originated in the Normandy region of France in the 19th century. Lore has it that it was a favorite late night meal in bistros and bordellos due to the reported aphrodisiac qualities of pepper. By the early 1900′s the dish was popular in Paris and Monte Carlo restaurants, yet there’s no shortage of controversy there either. Several French chefs of the era laid claim to Steak au Poivre. The popularity remains today and you are likely to see a version of a pepper crusted steak with covered with a sauce made in the same pan on every American steak house menu and most French bistros.

Traditionally, Steak au Poivre is made with beef tenderloin (filet mignon) but rib eye, New York strip …

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All About Pepper

July 7, 2014
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A little bit about pepper….

You might be surprised, but pepper is the most traded and most popular spice in the world. Peppercorns are the fruit (aka drupes) of the tropical vine, Piper Nigrum. When the fruit is ripe, it turns red, but sometimes it’s picked and processed before it’s ripe which then changes the pepper.

The flavor profile of peppercorns can change like wine, depending on where the pepper is grown, when it is picked, and how it is processed. Also like wine, descriptions of the peppercorn’s favor can vary widely; floral, cedar, fruity, smoky, citrus and licorice are commonly used. Vietnam may be the world’s largest producer of pepper but the most coveted peppercorns hail from Telicherry, in India, where the spice originates.

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What does the color of the pepper tell you about it?

  • Black peppercorns are the mature fruit of the pepper vine, picked when between
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Greek Pasta Salad

June 30, 2014
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It’s officially Summer! And you know what that means, right? Vine ripe tomatoes and cucumbers filling the gardens and farmer’s markets along with fresh herbs. And cold summer salads, one of my favorite things to eat. I love a traditional Greek Salad with briny olives, sweet tomatoes and earthy feta and combining those flavors with some pasta makes it a treat good enough to bring to a summer picnic and hearty enough for a Meatless Monday meal. The salad would also be a delicious accompaniment to grilled chicken, lamb kabobs or grilled fish.

This recipe could not be easier. If you can’t find tiny grape tomatoes or Sweet 100′s just dice up the sweetest tomatoes you can find. Fresh oregano is delicious, but dried will also work in a pinch.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

greeksaladingredients

Greek Pasta Salad

Yield: 6 Cups

Ingredients

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