26 June 2014

Three wishes for three dishes

 Sometimes cooking is like riding a wave with the ups and downs. But then there are the lulls where the water is just flat. There are days and even weeks that go by where preparing a meal becomes the same mundane foods. Where is the spark, I ask myself? Where did my enthusiasm for cooking disappear, I cry? Where is my inspirational muse hiding? Then, just as despair is about to consume me entirely, I catch a ferry to Nantucket for a lobster dinner, my dear friend Dave gives me a copy of his magazine called Fine Cooking, and my good buddy JoJo, surprises me with an outrageously delicious dessert. All I can say is I'm in the line-up and I'm riding high again.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Capers and Asparagus
Preheat 0ven to 425

2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes sliced in half
2 TBS of capers
1 LB Asparagus cut into small 2 inch slices

In a roasting pan pour in a bit of olive oil on bottom. Add the above ingredients and rub the oil on them so they are completely covered.  Sprinkle on sea salt. Put in preheated oven.

1 medium sized onion
1 handful of fresh basil

Chop the onion very small and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes over low heat until it's translucent, stirring often. Do not brown. Remove from heat and toss in the basil and cover. The basil will wilt slightly. Set aside until tomatoes are done.

When tomatoes are nearly complete ( they should look shriveled and browned), mix in the onions and let cook for another five or ten minutes. I just turn my oven off at this point and let them sit there.

Angel Hair Pasta - 12 oz for 4 - 6 people depending on appetite

Cook according to directions. This thin light pasta works the best.
Carefully and thoroughly mix all together and serve.

OPTIONAL - In Nantucket we had lobster with it but it is just as delicious without.

Roasted- Carrot Salad with Maple Syrup and Almonds 

This idea came from a Fine Cooking recipe by chef Pete Evans. I created my own version but both are yummy. Serves 4 - 6

Roasted carrots 
preheat oven to 425 degree 

Olive Oil
15 carrots ( 5 - 6 with greens still on them if you can get them) If your carrots are longer just slice in half. Do not cut up in small pieces. Chop the greens off, leaving about  two inches still on.
3 cups of baby salad greens ( if greens are not small  than chop) or arugula
a handful of small sliced red radishes

Spread the carrots out in a roasting pan. Pour some olive oil over them and rub until all carrots are covered. Pete uses butter on top I prefer EVOO. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 15 minutes then stir the carrots and roast 15 minutes more or until tender and slightly browned. Transfer to medium bowl and toss with about 1/3 of the dressing. Top with salad greens and radishes.

Pete's suggestion - you can place carrots on top of plain yogurt


 3 TBS of butter ( me ) 4 TBS ( Pete )
 3 TBS mead's maple syrup Any kind will do but hey I have to plug my product.
1/2 cup toasted ( watch carefully when toasting these. They take just a minute or two. I do them in a dry fry pan) slivered almonds.
2 TBS rice vinegar ( me) or apple cider vinegar ( Pete )
1 tsp orange zest ( me ) or 1/2 cup orange blossom water ( Pete) both are optional
3 TBS lemon juice
1 fresh red small chili with seeds and rib removed ( Pete) I did not use.
1/3 cup olive oil
      Sea Salt

Melt butter in a 10 inch skillet over med/low heat and cook butter until it browns slightly, about 3 minutes. Swirl in the maple syrup and then add almonds. When mixture begins to thicken add vinegar and orange zest or water if you are using. Bring to boil while stirring and simmer until thickened. Do not walk away from vinaigrette but keep stirring. This takes only about a minute or two. Remove from heat and add lemon and chili if using. Whisk in the olive oil.

Grilled Pineapple Sundae

One pineapple sliced lengthwise
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup nutella

Grill the pineapple turning often. Melt the nutella over low heat or microwave. Spoon the nutella onto the pineapple and top with any of the toppings. These are just the ones we used but feel free to let your imagination go wild. Place everything on a large platter. This can be a serve yourself dessert or you can make them and serve.

Grilled Pineapple Sundae

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