Summer is in full swing, and we all know what that means…TOMATO SEASON! I’m sure you all have a bountiful crop of tomatoes lying around from your garden..and if not, a plentiful supply of them from the farmers market or grocery store. So what better recipe to make with them than a gorgeous, easy Summer pasta dish?
Now I know this may sound weird, but I am not a fan of raw tomatoes. Never have, never will. Yeah, I am THAT person. But, when they’re cooked with a plethora of fresh ingredients to sweeten them up and break them down into a gorgeous sauce or salsa? I’m a huge tomato fan once they are transformed into some sweet and savory deliciousness…so here we go. Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta.
This is truly Summer in a Bowl, my friends. This pasta dish is so simple and fresh you’re gonna love it. I made a lovely chunky sauce with a batch of chopped fresh tomatoes, simmered in 7 Barrels Balsamic Vinegar and their Sweet Basil Olive Oil (omg #LOVE!), with sautéed sweet onions and garlic, red pepper flakes and chicken stock. Then I tossed the pasta with a little bit of the pasta water, added the cooked balsamic tomato sauce, and topped it with fresh basil, some big dollops of fresh ricotta, and lots of Parmesan cheese. Juicy, sweet, tangy, savory perfection.
This is truly Summer in a Bowl, my friends. Made with fresh tomatoes simmered in 7 Barrels Balsamic Vinegar and Sweet Basil Olive oil, with sautéed sweet onions and garlic making a lovely chunky tomato sauce..topped with fresh basil and ricotta cheese and more Parmesan cheese! And it's so easy to make that you won't be slaving over the stove in this hot weather either. Juicy, sweet, tangy, savory perfection.
1 pound of pasta, reserving some of the pasta cooking water
1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Sweet Basil extra virgin olive oil
4-6 large tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Seven Barrels Traditional Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese, for garnish
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces, for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add tomatoes, onions, garlic and red pepper flakes.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat, until onions begin to get soft and lightly browned and tomatoes release some of their liquid.
Place balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk well. Carefully add it to the skillet and continue to cook for a few minutes more until the sauce slightly thickens; remove from the heat.
Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the tomatoes, and toss together over low heat for an additional few minutes until the sauce coats the pasta. Add a small amount of the pasta cooking water if the mixture is too dry, to your desired sauce consistency.
Place the pasta in large bowl and top with fresh grated Parmesan, ricotta cheese, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot, immediately with some crusty garlic bread.
Now that Summer is rapidly approaching, I am so excited about getting outdoors to enjoy the warm weather and especially cooking outdoors with friends and family. Grilling is one of my favorite ways to cook in warm weather months, simply because it’s so easy and a healthy way to cook, and it usually takes place with a group of friends outside making fun memories and laughter to go with it.
I recently went down to Atlanta where I used to live to visit some old friends and we had a blast grilling outside on my friend’s outdoor BBQ grill in her backyard. We sat around the grill and made grilled sliders, shrimp, jalapeno poppers, and wings (with lots of snacks and drinks to go with of course!) It reminded me of the good old days when I used to live there… living and working in NYC we don’t get the opportunity to grill much anymore and it’s a precious occasion when I go to visit my friends and family who live in greener pastures.
One of my favorite things to make is a big juicy grilled steak..it’s always a tasty treat, easy to prepare and everyone loves it…especially with some grilled vegetables, salad, potatoes and a glass of wine or beer while sitting out on the patio dining al fresco watching the sunset.
My go-to Summer recipe is Coffee Marinated Steaks, which I know you’re gonna love. The marinade has a light smoky essence from the coffee (I use Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, an espresso alternative to Nepresso capsules, with a beautiful dark and rich flavor; some spicy heat from the red chilies and black peppercorns; a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar; and is balanced out with a slight tanginess from the balsamic vinegar, Dale’s seasoning/soy, mustard, shallots and garlic. You simply mix all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor, then marinade the steaks for an hour or up to overnight for some really delicious flavor.
Then simply pop them on the grill for about 8-10 minutes and you have the most juicy, flavorful and delicious steaks you’ve ever tasted in your life. Not to mention, a great idea for Father’s Day to spoil Dad! Click here to see more of my grilling ideas and recipes for Father’s Day.
My go-to Summer recipe is Gourmesso Coffee Marinated Steaks, which I know you’re gonna love. The marinade has a light smoky essence from the coffee (I use Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, which is an espresso (alternative to Nepresso capsules) that has a beautiful dark and rich flavor; some spicy heat from the red chilies and black peppercorns; a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar; and is balanced out with a slight tanginess from the balsamic vinegar, Dale’s seasoning/soy, mustard, shallots and garlic.
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, room temp
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1/8 cup low-sodium Dale’s seasoning (or dark soy sauce)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon red paprika
3 small red chilies
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Coarse Kosher salt
4 (12-14 ounce) boneless Strip steaks
In a food processor or blender, add the shallots, garlic, Gourmesso coffee, balsamic vinegar, Dale’s sauce/soy sauce, brown sugar, paprika, chilies, peppercorns, and olive oil and kosher salt and blend together well. Pour half the marinade in a glass dish or large plastic ziptop bag, add the steaks and toss to coat with the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Cover the remaining marinade and set aside in the fridge until ready to grill.
Heat grill to medium-high and lightly oil the grill rack. Remove steak from marinade and discard the remaining marinade. Bring steaks to room temperature before grilling.
Season the steaks with salt and pepper and place on grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare (less or more according to desired doneness), basting occasionally with remaining marinade.
Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest tented in foil for 5 minutes. Serve with grilled vegetables or a simple green salad dressed with vinaigrette and a glass of wine. Enjoy!
You can make the marinade up to a day ahead of time and store in the fridge with the steaks in a plastic bag or covered dish.
Ah, it’s almost the end of Summer and I keep thinking, where has it gone? Along with Summer comes lots of fresh veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and yellow squash that I just can’t get enough of!
I recently received a lovely care package from my client Colavita, who sent me some delicious pasta, sauces, olive oils and vinegars to sample, which inspired me to make this Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies.
I used their Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed in to the pasta and veggies along with fresh oregano and basil. AND it has three (3!!) cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy – all baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness.
Look. At. This. Cheesy Baked Pasta Goodness. YUM.
It’s the perfect dish for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner – and is great served with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread (dipped in Colavita olive oil and vinegar of course!) Enjoy!
This is a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Rotini pasta with Italian Sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, mushrooms, onions and garlic! It also features Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed with three cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner served with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.
1 pound Colavita Fusilli pasta, uncooked
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, ground
2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar
1 cup yellow squash, chopped
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-16 ounce jar Colavita Tomato Basil sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Parmesan/Asiago cheese, grated
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (add more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Cook pasta according to package directions (about 9 minutes for al dente), drain.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Cook sausage until no longer pink, drain fat and set aside.
Add additional tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and add squash, zucchini, mushrooms and bell pepper. Saute for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add minced garlic and balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute or two. Add the cooked sausage back into the pan.
Stir in the tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of Parmesan/Asiago cheese and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
Meanwhile, add the ricotta cheese to a mixing bowl and stir in beaten egg, fresh herbs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
Place the cooked pasta in a large pot and add the sausage-veggie-tomato sauce mixture, stirring well. Fold in the ricotta-egg-herbs mixture until thoroughly combined.
Spoon the pasta mixture into an 8x8 square glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan/Asiago cheese evenly over the top.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and browned.
Let cool for a few minutes, serve hot with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.
You can also substitute Colavita penne, shells, farfalle or ziti for the fusilli pasta.
Note: I received complimentary products from Colavita but was not compensated for this post. All photos, copy, recipes and opinions are my own. Please do not share, distribute or use any content without my permission.
The holidays are here, and what better way to celebrate by throwing a holiday cocktail party with friends and family? I’ve teamed up with Colavita this season to celebrate with all of you, by creating some delicious Holiday Appetizer recipes using their World Selection andPrivate SelectionExtra Virgin Olive Oils and Flavored Cooking Oil blends.
Colavita Olive Oil Giveaway!
*THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED – Congratulations to Manda Kay, the winner of our Colavita holiday giveaway! Hope you cook up lots of goodies with your EVOO & Balsamic Glace! Happy Holidays 🙂
I’ve teamed up with Colavita this holiday season and giving away some of their delicious olive oils and balsamic vinegars so you can celebrate the season by cooking up some holiday goodies of your own! The winner will receive: one (1) 3/4 liter of Colavita Private Selection Fruttato EVOO, one (1) 32 oz Roasted Garlic EVOO plus one (1) 29.5 oz bottle of their Balsamic Glace.
All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave me a comment at the end of this post telling me what your favorite Holiday Appetizer to make with olive oil is.
*For extra entries, just follow me on twitter, facebook, pinterest, google+, tumblr or sign up for my newsletter (at the top right hand side of this page) and tell me you did so in the comments section. **As an added bonus, Colavita is also offering a 25% discount to all of my readers on any purchase in their online store. Simply enter the code ‘AG25’ to receive the discount upon checkout!
**This giveaway begins on Sunday, Dec 9th and ends Sunday Dec 23rd at midnight EST, where one person will be selected by random from the comments section below.**
Colavita World Selection Olive Oils are a new collection of extra virgin olive oils exploring the tradition in countries outside of italy from estates and farms in Australia, Argentina, California, Greece, Spain and Portugal as well as other prime olive oil growing nations. Read more about a few of my favorites that I used in my recipes below!
Colavita 100% Californian EVOO
The warm climate in the “Golden State” of California fosters both grape and olive cultivation perfect for wines and olive oils. The Colavita 100% Californian EVOO is pressed from olives grown in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys of California. The mild flavor makes this oil perfect for all culinary applications. Enrich your favorite meal with a drizzle of EVOO and a glass of wine.
Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO is a product originally created exclusively for BJ’s Wholesale Stores. To many it has become the “gateway product” that exposes customers to the entire Colavita family of products. It is raved about on their online store so we wanted to share it with all of you! It’s the perfect finishing oil and wonderful for enhancing garlic already present in your dish. Try it on Garlic Bread or my Homemade Pita Chips (recipe below).
The Argentina EVOO was a hands-down favorite at this year’s New York Wine and Food Festival. Arbequino, Coratina and Manzanilla olive cultivars grown in the Catamarca and Mendoza regions of Argentina give this EVOO and intense, fruity aroma and taste. Pair this EVOO with soups, roasted fish, grilled vegetables and red meat for an unbeatable duo.
Colavita’s Fruttato Oil has recently been inducted into the Colavita “Private Selection” line. This line was created to highlight the products which have received the honor of being marked a Colavita family favorite. It is made by cold pressing new harvest olives just before their peak ripeness. The result is a full bodied EVOO which is slightly pungent with peppery flavor notes.
This Colavita Premium Blend is an all-purpose cooking, frying, and salad dressing oil which combines the delicate hint of roasted garlic in a light Canola Oil and Virgin Olive Oil Blend. It is a versatile oil that is naturally low in saturated fats and has no trans fats.
This is a lovely tart recipe that combines sweet and savory flavors. The caramelized onions give it a sweet flavor with a hint of fig balsamic vinegar, balanced out by creamy ricotta, nutty Gruyere cheese, fresh herbs and crispy pancetta.
1 package pancetta (8 thin slices)
3 tablespoons Colavita Fruttato EVOO
2 sweet Vidalia onions, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Fresh ground black pepper
1-1 1/2 tablespoons Fig balsamic vinegar (Tavern Direct brand)
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoons dried Fines Herbes (or 2 tablespoons fresh herbs)
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 frozen pie shell, defrosted, or homemade tart dough
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat and cook pancetta until browned but not fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Drain fat from pan and place pancetta on paper towels to drain to the side. Once cooled, chop pancetta into small pieces.
Peel onions, remove top and bottom stems and cut in half lengthwise.
Slice onions thin (about 1/8" thick or desired thickness).
In the same saute pan, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium high heat.
Add onions and cook over medium high for about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle brown sugar, salt and pepper over onions and stir well, cook another 10-20 minutes, reducing heat to medium low if onions start to brown too quickly.
Continue cooking and stirring onions over medium low for another 15 minutes, add a few teaspoons of water if desired.
Add the fig balsamic vinegar to the onions, turn heat down to low and let cook until they are caramelized, soft and sweet, up to an hour total.
Combine the ricotta, egg yolk and Fines Herbes together in small mixing bowl.
Spread the ricotta mixture over the pie shell in a 9" tart pan with removeable bottom.
Sprinkle Gruyere cheese over ricotta.
Top with caramelized onions and pancetta.
Bake the tart in the oven for approximately 30-45 minutes until pastry and filling are golden brown, and pancetta is crispy.
Let tart cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Serve tart cut into wedges.
If you prefer to make your own tart dough rather than using a frozen pie crust, Martha Stewart has a great recipe for Flaky Tart Dough on her website at http://www.marthastewart.com/319448/flaky-tart-dough
Hot Artichoke dip is one of my all time favorite holiday dip recipes, and this one is extra special, using Colavita's California EVOO, lemon zest and minced garlic with lots of gooey cheese. Instead of using mayonnaise, I substitute a light sour cream to cut some of the fat and calories. Serve with my homemade baked pita chips or crackers.
2 tablespoons Colavita California extra virgin olive oil
1 package frozen artichokes, defrosted
1 tablespoon minced garlic
zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
Garlic salt with parsley (to taste)
Fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded light monterey jack cheese, plus 1/2 cup for topping
1/2 cup light sour cream
dash of cayenne (optional)
dash of paprika (for garnish)
1 green onion, sliced thin (for garnish)
Heat oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add artichokes and minced garlic, saute about 5-7 minutes until heated through.
Add lemon juice, zest, garlic salt and pepper, mix well and cook another few minutes, set aside.
Meanwhile, add shredded cheeses and sour cream together in a mixing bowl.
Add sauteed artichokes, garlic and lemon to cheese and sour cream.
Sprinkle with a dash of cayenne (if desired), mix well and transfer to a casserole dish.
Sprinkle additional monterey jack cheese over the top and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted on top.
Let cool a few minutes, sprinkle with paprika and green onions. Serve with homemade baked pita chips (recipe follows), crackers or crudites.
Making homemade pita chips is super easy and way better than buying the storebought kind for your holiday party. Mine are made with whole wheat pita bread, drizzled with EVOO, and sprinkled with garlic salt and cumin for some extra flavor. So delicious and crispy straight out of the oven and so addicting you'll never buy them again! Serve with Hot Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip or any of your other favorite party dips.
6 whole wheat pita rounds
2 tablespoons Colavita California EVOO
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 tablespoon cumin
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut pita rounds into triangles (6 wedges per pita).
Lay out pita wedges on a baking sheet and brush each wedge with olive oil.
Sprinkle garlic salt and cumin on top.
Flip over pita wedges, repeat coating with oil, salt and cumin.
Place baking sheet(s) in oven and cook pita wedges for about 15 minutes (checking to make sure they don't burn!)
Let cool, and serve with Hot Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip.
Everyone loves cocktail meatballs at holiday parties! These lovelies have a hint of lemon and sage and are light and fluffy, made with ground pork or chicken. They are first browned on the stovetop and then finished in the oven until golden brown. They're delicious alone, or dipped in a hot pepper jelly (Williams-Sonoma brand is great), balsamic pear jam (there's one by Academia Barilla that is to die for) or simply dipped in balsamic vinegar glace.
Red Pepper jelly, for dipping (Williams Sonoma brand)
Balsamic Pear jam, for dipping (Academia Barilla brand)
Colavita Balsamic Glace, for dipping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove crusts from bread and tear into small pieces in a large mixing bowl, add milk and let soak for 10-15 minutes.
Mix in ground pork or chicken, sage, garlic, onion, lemon juice and zest, cheese, pepper flakes, egg, salt and pepper with soaked bread crumbs with your hands in a claw-like motion to keep meatballs light and fluffy.
Roll meat mixture into small to medium size meatballs (small makes approximately 36, medium makes approximately 18).
Heat olive oils in a large saute pan over medium heat (if not using cooking oil blend, mix EVOO with a tablespoon of butter to avoid temperature from getting too high and splattering).
Cook meatballs in batches in the oil for about 5 minutes each batch until meatballs are browned on all sides, drain on paper towels.
Once all meatballs are browned, place them on a large rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray to avoid sticking.
Bake in the oven for approximately another 15 minutes until cooked through and to keep warm.
Top with additional garlic salt (if desired), fresh chopped sage, and serve with red pepper jelly and balsamic pear jam, and Colavita Balsamic Glace for dipping.
These zucchini sticks are a great appetizer for any holiday party. They have a light crunchy coating of Japanese Panko seasoned bread crumbs and are finished with a splash of lemon and sprinkling of sea salt. They go perfect with the cool and creamy yogurt dill sauce or even a ranch dressing for dipping.
CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI STICKS
Colavita Roasted Garlic Cooking Oil Blend
4 medium zucchini, cut into half, into long strips
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cups Panko Japanese-style seasoned breadcrumbs
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2 large eggs
Sea salt, for sprinkling, to taste
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Fresh minced dill, for garnish
YOGURT DILL SAUCE
1 cup of Greek yogurt
2-3 tablespoon minced dill
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI STICKS
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large deep saute pan, about 2 inches high.
Trim ends off zucchini, cut in half and then in half again lengthwise.
Cut zucchini into large strips about 1/2 an inch thick.
Pour the flour and Panko breadcrumbs into one large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
Dip zucchini sticks in egg, shaking off excess, then dip in bowl to coat with flour and breadcrumbs.
Place coated zucchini on a baking sheet.
Fry in batches until golden brown, draining excess oil on another baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of zucchini and sprinkle with fresh dill and additional sea salt to taste.
YOGURT DILL SAUCE
In a medium bowl, mix together greek yogurt, dill, salt and pepper to taste.
*This is a sponsored post by Colavita, but as usual, all opinions expressed are my own. I received 5 bottles of Colavita olive oil samples to create the recipes for this article and holiday promotion. Winners of the giveaway will receive the prizes directly from Colavita by mail and should expect 2-3 weeks delivery time due to the holidays.
**All photographs, recipes and copy are copyrighted by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet 2012 and cannot be republished without my permission or credit on the reposted original material from this article or website.
I recently picked up a cookbook at a conference called Recipes Worth Sharing by Favorite Recipes Press. It’s a collection of the most prized, tried-and-true tested home cook recipes from some of the most popular regional community cookbooks and charitable organizations in America. I remember my Mom and Grandmother would occasionally cook from these spiral-bound community cookbooks and they usually made some type of yummy salad or casserole dish for a Sunday family brunch or neighborhood potluck supper. Usually these cookbooks go unappreciated or overlooked, but this one deserves to be noticed.
The reason I picked up this book was mainly because of the recipes themselves, not the beautiful photos which normally are what grab my attention when I pick up or buy a cookbook. The recipes are a collection of delicious comfort food, down-home favorites and are not particularly complicated to make but delicious all the same. A lot of these recipes remind of the Southern cooking I experienced and learned to make when I lived in Atlanta and made trips to Savannah, Charleston and New Orleans – lots of seafood, fresh veggies and salads, grilled and roasted meats, pasta dishes, homemade breads, pies and desserts, and of course the delicious creamycasseroles made out of basically EVERYTHING under the sun. The foods and recipes in this book are the ones that your Grandmother and Mother probably made too, and passed along to their friends at church, bridge club or the local junior league. Fussy and stuffy recipes they are not, but simple, delicious and comforting – they are indeed.
The recipes in the book are organized in typical categories: Appetizers and Beverages, Breads and Brunch, Soups, Salads and Sandwiches, Entrees, Fish and Seafood, Vegetables and Sides, Cakes, Pies and Cookies, Desserts, and Kid’s Recipes. I’ve gone through the book and picked out a sampling of my favorite recipes below (a few from each category) to share with you. I hope you enjoy them and maybe even try a few for your next potluck party or family picnic. If you want to check out the cookbook for yourself – you can preview and purchase the cookbook online. Enjoy!
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon horseradish
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon white wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cooked crab meat, drained
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup cooked shrimp, cut into small pieces
40 frozen phyllo cups, thawed
Grated parmesan cheese
Blend the cream cheese, milk, horseradish, butter, wine, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Fold in the crab meat, scallions and shrimp. Fill the phyllo cups with the seafood mixture. Place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the cheese and almonds. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until heated through.
Recipe from Toast of the Coast, The Junior League of Jacksonville, Florida
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup chopped green chilies
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (1-pound) round loaf French or Sourdough bread
Combine the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, ham, green onions, green chilies and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl and mix well. Cut a thin slice from the top of the bread loaf; reserve. Remove the center carefully, leaving a shell. Cut the bread from the center into 1-inch cubes. Fill the bread shell with the dip; top with the reserved top. Wrap in foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with the bread cubes, crackers or chips.
Recipe from Downtown Savannah Style, The Junior League of Savannah, Georgia.
Pirate’s Milk Punch
1 cup sugar
1 cup bourbon (not sour mash)
1 cup French brandy (Cognac)
1 cup vodka
2 ounces pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Combine the sugar, bourbon, brandy and vodka in a gallon container with a lid. An empty gallon milk jug will work. Secure the lid and shake vigorously until the sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla and nutmeg; shake well. Add the milk, 2 cups at a time, until the jug is full; shaking well after each addition. Chill for 8 to 24 hours before serving. Serve very cold or over ice in old-fashioned glasses. Sprinkle freshly grated nutmeg over the top before serving.
Makes 1 gallon (16 servings).
Recipe from The Life of the Party, The Junior League of Tampa, Florida.
6 English muffins, split into halves
Butter to taste
12 slices Canadian bacon
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
To prepare the eggs, toast the English muffin halves and spread with butter. Brown the Canadian bacon in a skillet; drain. Whisk the eggs in a bowl until light and frothy. Add the cheese, salt and pepper and mix well. Arrange the muffin halves in the bottom of a baking dish, split side up. Top each muffin half with a slice of Canadian bacon. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the Canadian bacon. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until eggs are set. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Slice into squares around the muffin halves.
To prepare the sauce, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and Tabasco sauce in a blender and process until smooth. Bring the butter to a simmer in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and immediately add to the egg yolk mixture in a find stream, processing constantly at high speed until combined.
To serve, top each serving with a spoonful of Hollandaise sauce. Note: The sauce can be kept warm in a baking dish placed in a pan of hot water.
Recipe from Shall We Gather, Trinity Episcopal Church, Wetumpka, Alabama.
White Spanish Gazpacho
3 cucumbers, peeled and cubed
1 small garlic clove
3 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth
3 cups sour cream
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
4 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup sliced green onions
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and salted
Puree the cucumbers and garlic in a blender. Pour into a bowl. Whisk in a small amount of chicken broth until smooth. Whisk in remaining chicken broth gradually. Whisk the cucumber mixture gradually inot the sour cream in a bowl. Stir in the vinegar and salt. Chill, covered, until cold. Ladle into 6 chilled soup bowls. Top each with equal portions of the tomatoes, parsley, green onions, almonds and croutons.
Recipe from Recipes of Note, Greensboro Symphony Guild, Greensboro, NC
Sweet Tart Salad
Poppy Seed Dressing:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
10 ounces salad greens or 16 cups torn lettuce
4 cups chopped Granny Smith apples
2 cups garlic bagel chips, crushed
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon pepper
For the dressing, combine the sugar, oil, vinegar, poppy seeds, paprika and Worcestershire sauce in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and seal tightly. Shake to mix. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator until serving time. The flavor is enhanced if made in advance and chilled.
For the salad, mix the salad greens, apples, bagel chips, cheese, pecans, and pepper in a salad bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Recipe from Tables of Content, Junior League of Birmingham, Alabama.
Toasted Brie Chicken Tea Sandwiches
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup red grapes, sliced
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Italian herbs
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
6 to 12 croissants
2 (8 ounce) wheels Brie cheese, rind removed and cheese sliced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the chicken and broth in a roasting pan. Roast for 12 to 18 minutes or until cooked through. Do not allow the chicken to brown. Drain and discard the broth. Place the chicken in a large bowl and let stand until cool. Mix the mayonnaise, grapes, celery, Italian herbs, pepper and onion powder in a bowl. Stir in the chicken. Cut each croissant into halves crosswise and cut each half into halves horizontally. Toast the croissants. Place a slice of Brie on half of the croissant pieces. Top with the chicken mixture and the remaining croissant pieces.
Makes 12 to 14 sandwiches.
Recipe from Savor the Seasons, The Junior League of Tampa, Florida.
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
1 (14 ounce) can hearts of palm, drained and sliced
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
6 tablespoons salad oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Juice of 2 garlic cloves
4 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large tomatoes, cut into 12 slices
1/4 cup crumbled crisp-cooked bacon
Combine the artichokes, hearts of palm, green onions and parsley in a bowl and mix gently. Add a mixture of the salad oil, lemon juice and garlic juice and bleu cheese; toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator until serving time. The salad may be prepared to this point one day in advance. Line 6 chilled salad plates with romaine. Arrange 2 tomato slices on each salad plate. Top with the artichoke mixture. Sprinkle with the bacon just before serving.
Recipe from Art Fare, Toledo Museum of Art Aides, Toledo, Ohio.
Father Art’s Pozole
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (2-pound) pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth
10 tomatillos, husked, cored and cut into quarters
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1 (15-ounce) can hominy, drained and rinsed
2 whole dried red chiles, stems removed
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat. Add the pork and saute until brown on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook for 10 minutes or until the onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Combine the pork mixture with 3 cups of chicken broth in a large saucepan. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the pork is very tender. Combine the remaining 2 cups chicken broth with the tomatillos and cilantro in a blender and process until pureed. Add the puree, hominy and red chiles to the pork mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the chiles and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve with chopped onion, shredded lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, cheese, cilantro and lime wedges.
Note: Pozole can be prepared a day or two in advance and chilled, covered, until needed. Reheat over low heat to serve.
Recipe from The Bells are Ringing: A Call to Table, Mission San Juan Capistrano Women’s Guild, San Juan Capistrano, California.
6 whole chicken breasts, split and skinned
3 1/2 cups ice water
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne to taste
Spray a baking sheet 3 times with a nonstick cooking spray. Rinse the chicken. Place the chicken in the ice water in a bowl. Spoon the yogurt into a medium bowl. Combine the bread crumbs, flour, Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder, Creole seasoning, thyme, basil, oregano, black pepper and cayenne in a sealable plastic bag, shaking to mix. Remove 2 pieces of chicken from the water; coat with yogurt. Place the chicken in the plastic bag with seasonings, shaking to coat. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken. Spray the chicken lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Place the baking sheet on the bottom oven rack. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour, turning every 20 minutes to assure even browning.
Recipe from A Taste of the Good Life: From the Heart of Tennessee, St. Thomas Hospital, Nashville, Tennessee.
1 stick butter
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons flour
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 pound grated Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon sherry wine
Red pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 pound white crabmeat
Melt butter in heavy pot and saute onions and parsley. Blend in flour, cream and cheese, until cheese is melted. Add other ingredients and gently fold in crab meat. This may be served in a chafing dish with Melba toast or in puff pastry shells.
Recipe from River Roads Recipes: The Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine, Junior League of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Baked Heirloom Beets with Balsamic Vinegar
1 pound of beets various colors, leaves and stems trimmed (golf ball size)
10 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup fresh marjoram or oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the beets, garlic, and marjoram on a sheet of foil large enough to enclose. Season generously with salt and pepper and bring the sides of the foil up. Pour a mixture of the vinegar and olive oil over the beet mixture and seal the foil.
Bake for 1 hour or until the beets are tender. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel and slice or chop the beets, reserving the juices. Serve the beets with the reserved juices over watercress or mixed salad greens or as a side to grilled meats. Serve at room temperature if desired.
Recipe from California Mosaic, The Junior League of Pasadena, California.
Church Street Squash
2 pounds yellow or zucchini squash (or medley of both)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, whisked
1/2 cup Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix, plain
1 tablespoon paprika
Cook squash until tender. Mash with fork after draining. Let stand until cool. Saute onion in 2 tablespoons butter until yellow, not brown. Mix squash, onion, cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper and egg. Gently pour into greased casserole. Sprinkle stuffing mix on top and dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle paprika on top. Cook, uncovered 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until bubbly. It does freeze well after cooking and covered.
Recipe from Charleston Receipts Repeats, Junior League of Charleston, South Carolina.
Fresh Peach Crisp
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine or butter
4 cups fresh peaches, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
Combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon; cut in margarine or butter with 2 knives or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Combine peaches, lemon juice and water; spoon into a greased 9x9x1 3/4 inch baking dish. Sprinkle flour mixture over peaches. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake 35 to 45 minutes longer.
Recipe from Savannah Style, Junior League of Savannah, Georgia.
1/2 cup margarine
1 (6 ounce) package chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
1 (10 1/2 ounce) package mini marshmallows
4 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup peanuts, optional
Combine margarine, chocolate chips, and peanut butter in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until melted, stirring until smooth. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Blend in cereal and peanuts. Spread in 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Chill until firm. Prepare frosting by melting chocolate chips and butterscotch chips together, blending until smooth. Spread on chilled bars. Cut into 2×1-inch bars.
Makes 60 bars.
Recipe from Children’s Party Book, The Junior League of Hampton Roads, Virginia
Spring has arrived! It’s my favorite time of year when everything comes alive…flowers are blooming, streets are buzzing, the sun is shining, and the freshest fruits and vegetables are available at the local markets. Asparagus, Strawberries, Avocados – three lovely, seasonal ingredients perfect for a light and refreshing Spring menu. The salad has marinated strawberries in a Strawberry Balsamic Viniagrette, which gives them a sweet, tangy flavor – a perfect complement to the crunchy toasted almonds, bacon and avocado in this delicious spring salad. The Scallops are pan-seared in a roasted garlic chardonnay marinade with a splash of lemon, served with a side of sautéed fresh asparagus. Enjoy!
Pan Seared Scallops with Garlic and Lemon and Sauteed Asparagus
16 Large Sea Scallops
¼ c. Roasted Garlic Chardonnay Marinade (Tavern on the Green)
2 tbsp EVOO
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
Lemon Pepper (Trader Joe’s)
1-2 Green Onions, sliced
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Kosher Salt to taste
In a plastic freezer bag, place scallops and ¼ c. marinade and lemon pepper, coat scallops well. Marinade in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Chop the green onions and parsley and reserve for topping the scallops.
Cut off the ends of the asparagus (tough parts of the stem), rinse and pat dry. In a pre-heated sauté pan over medium-high, sauté the Asparagus in a tablespoon of olive oil with a splash of lemon juice and lemon pepper for about 5-6 minutes until cooked through.
After scallops are done marinating, take them out of the bag and dry off with paper towels. Place them in the same sauté pan, adding remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt and lemon pepper.
Sear the scallops for approx. 2-3 minutes per side until browned and cooked through. Sprinkle scallops with some fresh lemon juice and remove from pan.
Place asparagus and scallops on a plate and garnish with chopped green onions, parsley and a lemon wedge.
Strawberry, Bacon and Avocado Salad with Toasted Marcona Almonds
1 lb of mixed lettuce
1 pint of fresh strawberries, sliced
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 ripe avocado, sliced
½ cup of Rosemary Marcona almonds, toasted (Trader Joe’s)
3 green onions, sliced thin
3 tbsp of EVOO
3 tbsp of Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar (Tavern on the Green)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Slice the strawberries into thin slices and place in a sealable plastic bag with the 2 tbsp Strawberry Balsamic vinegar in the refrigerator, let marinade for about an hour.
Prepare salad dressing, mix olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and mustard together, slowly whisking in oil until it is mixed well and set aside.
Fry bacon in a pan until cooked well and drain on paper towels. Let bacon cool and crumble for salad topping. Set aside.
Place almonds in a separate pre-heated medium-sized pan with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt over the nuts. Cook and stir for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown and toasty.
Slice the avocados and green onions.
In a large salad bowl, toss the lettuce and vinaigrette together, mixing well, and top salad greens with the marinated strawberries and sliced avocados.
Garnish the salad with crumbled bacon, green onions, toasted almonds, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste.
I recently was fortunate enough to meet Lou Bivona, Managing Partner of Tavern Direct and Founding Member of National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/NY and sample some of his gourmet products to cook with. Tavern Direct has a fantastic line of flavorful, gourmet marinades, dipping and finishing sauces, 14-16 year barrel-aged balsamic vinegars infused with real fruit and herb oils all made with premium, all-natural ingredients bottled under the Tavern on the Green name. The best of all about this wonderful cooking line is that a portion of all their proceeds goes to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), a charity committed to help millions of children through the sales of their products.
Their product lineup includes Oils, Herbs ‘n More featuring Garlic with Rosemary Oil, Chili Pepper with Garlic Oil and Pepper with Lemon Oil. Their Marinade, Dipping and Finishing Sauce line includes Central Park Signature, Wasabi Wonder, Smokin’ Chipolte and Asian Lemon. The Marinade trio features Chandelier Chardonnay and Fire Grilled Garlic, Old Vine Cabernet and Fire Grilled Garlic and Toscana Garlic Parmesan. The Balsamic Vinegar line is premium and gorgeously flavored with options such as Citrus on the Green (infused with Orange, tangerine and lime), Blackberry and Ginger, Autumn Fig with Vanilla, and Summer Strawberry. Last but not least, they have a robust 1870 Steak Sauce as well as a sesame Golden Ginger Teriyaki Sauce, perfect for marinating steak, chicken and fish for stir-fries and grilling.
With so many gorgeous sauces and marinades to choose from, I had a hard time choosing which one to cook with first. I chose the Garlic with Rosemary Oil in their Oil, Herbs n’ More collection to make a fantastic, delicious meal of Pan Seared Pork Chops, Roasted Zucchini with Garlic and Parmesan and Pecan Brown Basmati Rice with Garlic. With all the wonderful oils and vinegars and marinades in this line, I’ll be cooking up a storm and planning food and wine pairings and special recipes, and aim to share all my creations and cooking experiences with you throughout the year. Stay tuned for more!
To make a donation to NCMEC , visit their secure website.
Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Garlic and Rosemary
Total Prep time: 30 mins
Total Cook time: 1 hr
Cooking skill: Intermediate
4 large boneless pork chops (about 1 ½ inches thick)
Tavern Direct Garlic with Rosemary Oil
4 Garlic cloves, sliced
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh or dried rosemary leaves
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees and adjust the oven rack to middle position.
Marinade pork chops in the Garlic with Rosemary Oil in a plastic freezer bag or baking dish and place in the refrigerator for up 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Once chops are done marinating, cut 2 slits about 2 inches apart into each chop, using a sharp knife. Insert sliced garlic cloves into slits and sprinkle entire surface of each chop with 1 tsp of salt. Place them in a roasting pan or baking sheet and let stand room temperature for about 15 minutes.
Sprinkle chops with freshly ground pepper and rosemary and transfer baking sheet or roasting pan to oven. Cook until meat thermometer inserted into the center of the chops registers 120-125 degrees (approximately 30-45 mins).
Heat 1 tablespoon of the Garlic with Rosemary oil in a 12 inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until smoking. Place 2 chops in skillet and sear until well browned and crusty, 1 ½-3 minutes, lifting once halfway to redistribute the fat underneath each chop. (reduce heat if browned bits in pan bottom start to burn). Using tongs, turn chops and cook until well browned on second side, another 2-3 minutes. Transfer chops to a plate and repeat with remaining 2 chops, adding extra tablespoon oil if pan is dry.
Reduce heat to medium. Use tongs to stand 2 pork chops on their sides. Holding chops together with tongs, return to skillet and sear sides of chops until browned and meat thermometer in center of chops registers 140-145 degrees, about 1 ½ minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 chops. Let chops rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes until ready to serve. Sprinkle with some extra Rosemary if desired to garnish.
Pair the Pan-seared chops with Roasted Zucchini with Garlic & Parmesan and Pecan Brown Basmati Rice (recipes follow) and a light, crisp Chardonnay to top off the meal. Delicious!
Roasted Zucchini with Garlic and Parmesan
Total Prep time: 15 mins
Total Cook time: 30-45 mins
Cooking skill: Easy
4 medium zucchini
Tavern Direct Garlic with Rosemary Oil
Fresh ground pepper
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Fresh or dried rosemary leaves
Wash zucchini and cut in half length wise, chopping off ends, and cut in half again. Arrange zucchini in a glass baking pan and drizzle the Garlic with Rosemary oil over the zucchini. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and top the zucchini with the shredded Parmesan cheese and fresh or dried rosemary. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 mins until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
Pecan Brown Basmati Rice with Garlic
Total Prep time: 15 mins
Total Cook time: 1 hour
Cooking skill: Easy
1 cup long-grain brown rice
1-2 tablespoons Tavern Direct Garlic with Rosemary Oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
¼ cup green onion, sliced thin (for garnish, optional)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Prepare brown rice in medium saucepan, following package instructions.
About 15 minutes before the rice is done, heat 1-2 tbsp of Garlic with Rosemary oil in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened and begins to yellow, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and pecans; sauté over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the garlic is tender and pecans are browned slightly, about 5 minutes.
Remove rice from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Spoon brown rice into a bowl; spoon the onions, garlic and pecans on top and toss lightly to combine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with some chopped green onion if desired.
**This was not a paid endorsement for Tavern Direct, NCMEC or Tavern on the Green. All recipes and opinions expressed are my own.