Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I called this an appetizer in the post title today but honestly, I could eat these delicious little delights for breakfast, lunch and dinner! We had a fun and memorable dinner with our dear friends, Joel and Karen, a few months ago. Having lived in Japan for a number of years, the meal was quite authentically Asian in every aspect; from the greeting at the door (in kimonos!) to the ikebana (traditional Japanese flower arranging) to the incredibly delicious five course dinner. Karen and Joel served three separate appetizers (oh my!) and although they all were wonderful, these Crab Rangoons were just the creme de la creme! Well, I thought they were Crab Rangoons...................... but I'll let Karen tell you the rest of the story...................
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
A few extra ears of fresh corn last week got me on quite a roll! I was making the Grill-Roasted Corn to serve with my London Broil with Sweet and Smoky Tomato Salsa when I realized that I had purchased more corn than I needed. So, I decided to roast the extra cobs thinking it might be fun to make a salsa with the delicious roasted corn and came up with the Roasted Corn Salsa with Mango and Fresh Pineapple that I shared on The Café yesterday.
Monday, June 27, 2011
I grew up in the Midwest and my siblings and I spent a a lot of time each summer on our Uncle Alvins's farm. Alvin always told us that if the corn was "knee-high by the fourth of July" that it was "right on time". I have such fond memories of those farm days but I'm so glad that I now live in the southern US as local corn is way past "knee high" and is actually available and abundant starting in mid-June - YIPEEEEE!
Friday, June 24, 2011
If you were a super-sleuth and happened to be looking through my index of recipes you might just be thinking that I'm a ............conundrum or an enigma or perhaps an incongruity, maybe even an anomaly........ What do all these funny words have to do with me and my recipe index?? Well, if you look closely you will discover that, while I LOVE a good dessert (nineteen since starting this blog in March) and have posted some quite extravagant sweet delights, I am, at the same time, just as crazy about a good salad (the salads win the race at twenty-one since March!). My husband will testify that if you put a wonderful fresh salad in front of me, I'm happy as a clam!!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I served these two sides with yesterday's Grilled London Broil with Sweet and Smokey Salsa but they certainly could stand on their own as celebrities for any meal.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I've been trying to stay out of the grocery stores - I over spent a bit last week and went above my budget, oops! Because of this little dilemma, I decide to check out my freezer stash and was thrilled to find a beautiful London Broil.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
If you've been reading my blog for awhile now you might just be realizing that I'm quite smitten with shortbread. Just last week I blogged about Salted Toffee Shortbread Cookies and then there was the Lemon Grass Lemon Tart with Coconut Shortbread Crust . Even when my sister Annie was a guest blogger she featured a Coconut Macaroon Tart with ....... you guess it...... a Shortbread Crust (maybe it's a genetic problem)! And now another shortbread recipe? Yes siree....... you're right, I do have a definite fondness for all things shortbread and this fabulous recipe is no exception.
Monday, June 20, 2011
I love new takes on ordinary, everyday things. It keeps life from becoming too boring, too mundane, too menial, too....... well, just too "every dayish". I enjoy a new hair style, a new lipstick, a new look in my home or a new route to ride my "black steed" (aka my bicycle). And I LOVE new takes and twists on everyday foods, like this Ribbons of Zucchini Mediterranean Salad - I think you will too!
Friday, June 17, 2011
If you've been reading my blog you know that I love a good bargain. When I see a sale on great produce, meat, canned goods or whatever, I usually snatch up a bunch of it. Then I either base my cooking that week around the surplus, or stash my "cache" in the freezer or pantry for a "rainy day". This is one way that I keep my grocery budget in check. Some of my friends have asked if I spend an astronomical amount of money on groceries, because of all the cooking I do. The answer is no, I actually take out a specific amount of cash each week for groceries and, for the most part, live within the limits. When the money's gone, it's time to stop shopping!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
I called these delicious BLT's "our favorite summer meal" in the post title but let me clarify this just a bit - it is our favorite summer meal THIS week. With all the fabulous and fresh summer flavors, I just know something else will grab my attention in the not too distant future and it will become the new favorite. I guess you could to call me fickle when it comes to food, sorry about that! :)
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
If I was trying to impress you, I might tell you.........well, I just might tell you how I worked for weeks developing these delicious cookies: testing, tweaking, experimenting and doing behind the scenes trial runs until I reached a phenomenal final result. Or how a carefully selected panel of taste-testers judiciously sampled each variation, meticulously critiquing them before this presentation to you.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Those of you who read my blog know that I LOVE to cook, but you probably don't know that one of my favorite pastimes is bike riding. In the warmer months of the year I usually ride eight to fifteen miles a day, four to five days per week. I love, love, love the vicarious thrill of sailing down a country road or through the winding trails and slopes of a greenway bike path with nothing but clear, fresh air between myself and God's beautiful creation. I love feeling the wind in my face and experiencing the freedom of self-powered motion. I sense the seasons in much more depth from a bicycle; the tiny hint of pale green in the spring as the foliage begins another new season of life, the first summer fragrance of honeysuckle, newly-mown grass or abundant wild flowers, the vivid, glorious colors of fall and the sound of leaves crunching beneath my tires....... I could go on and on!
Friday, June 10, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I already know what your going to say........ and I agree........ this recipe is
kind of, no really weird! It is honestly, one of the strangest and yet most delicious concoctions I have ever tried. I was quite skeptical when I first heard about this crazy way of making Chicken Kabobs but my chief culinary consultant and photographer (aka husband) agreed - the finished product is quite extraordinary!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I clipped this recipe from a Gourmet magazine at least twenty years ago and our family and friends have been enjoying Blueberry Crumb Cake every summer since. The funny thing about it is: The woman who sent the recipe to Gourmet said "I clipped this recipe out of a newspaper fifteen years ago and have been making it ever since!" Between the two of us that's over thirty-five years!!! I guess that makes this recipe an antique or a relic or a
fossil - no, that sounds bad........ well, whatever you want to call it, I call it a perfect summer delight for breakfast, a mid-morning snack, or if you're living in England, to enjoy while sipping a "spot" of tea during late afternoons in "the garden"!
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
If you look up "summer" in a dictionary, you might just see a picture of these Corn and Basil Cakes! They have to be one of my favorite summer treats! With fresh sweet corn more and more abundant at local grocers and soon overflowing at the farmer's markets, this is a very timely recipe. While it's fabulous roasted, grilled or steamed, this combination of basil, corn, eggs, milk and flour is certainly a quintessential summer delight.
Monday, June 6, 2011
For the past week we've been having unseasonably hot weather here in the Carolinas with temperatures soaring into the mid to upper nineties - WHEW!! I'm just not ready for this type of extreme heat! One thing I do love about summer though, is the abundance of delicious fresh fruits that are available. Mangos, blueberries and avocados are plentiful and cheap right now so they've been popping up here there and everywhere in my culinary escapades as I'm trying to use them in every way imaginable while their in they're prime.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Pizza Margherita has to be the simplest yet most delicious of all pizzas! Besides the crust, it consists of three basic ingredients: tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil. That's it! They say that, often, the simplest things in life are the best and Pizza Margherita certainly fills this bill. The three star ingredients are praiseworthy on their own, but combine them with a golden, crisp crust, a wash of garlic-infused olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and they become nothing less than stellar! After all, it's the only pizza I know of that's named after a queen! Delicioso!
Oh, and if you're in a pinch for time.....
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Before you even start reading this post I'd like to say this: If you're seriously dieting or watching your carb intake, click off this blog immediately! You might want to check out this fabulous blog or this one but DO NOT remain here at The Café! You see, when these heavenly treats come out of the oven, all warm with the smell of fresh herbs permeating your house, there is NO WAY you'll be able to resist! Don't say I didn't warn you! :)
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Okay, I'll say it right up front - I CHEAT!!!!!!! Oh, not on my husband, in my work, on my taxes - or in anything that really matters - but my conscience will not let me continue blogging any longer without making a confession!
If you've been following my blog you will, most likely, have realized that I enjoy experimenting with international cuisines. I love the fresh, unique flavors that each culture has to offer: the spices, herbs and exciting taste sensations they boast, often without adding extra fat or calories.
You may have also noticed that I have a special affinity to Asian-inspired recipes. The very first recipe I shared on The Café was Orange-Ginger Salmon with Smokey Mashed Potatoes. There have been many to follow like Peanut-Ginger Vinaigrette, Korean Beef Short Ribs, Chinese Pork and Ginger Dumplings and the recipe I am sharing today for Asian Grilled Hanger Steak. One of the common denominators in all of these wonderful recipes is a fabulous, flavorful ingredient partnership: fresh ginger and garlic. Although they are everyday ingredients, these two friends, when married with differing combinations of soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame, brown sugar and cilantro yield an incredible Far Eastern taste sensation!
So here's the confession - several years ago I discovered an awesome little shortcut for many of these delicious Asian-inspired recipes that call for garlic and ginger - Ginger Garlic Paste! So while you've been slaving away, dirtying knives, garlic presses, zesters and cutting boards, I've been scooping into my undercover little jar and humming a merry tune!
While I don't care at all for minced garlic in a jar, I love this stuff! If I have all the time in the world (which is almost never), I will use fresh ginger and garlic, but often I turn to this little "secret in a jar" for marinades, sauces, salad dressings, etc. If you taste tested, side by side, one of these recipes using fresh garlic/ginger vs Garlic Ginger Paste, I honestly don't think you could tell the difference.
So now you know! My daughter calls timesavers like this "making wise use of time", "multi-tasking" or "making hay while the sun shines". Can you tell she's very kind? I call it, "a streak of laziness!" - Whatever YOU call it, Garlic Ginger Paste can be lifesaver when you're trying to prepare a quick, but delicious meal!
This Asian Grilled Hanger Steak is simply out of this world! I served it over the weekend with a delicious Corn Sauté with Ginger and Cilantro (yesterday's post) and some fabulous No-Knead Yeast Rolls with Garlic and Herbs (tomorrow's post). It was a five-star meal, easy enough for a weeknight, but special enough for a fancy dinner party! I will be making it again soon!
A few notes-
If you're not familiar with Hanger Steak you will want to get to know this tasty, tender and relatively inexpensive cut of meat. The flat iron steak is classified by USDA as the cut from the top of the shoulder blade and is the second-most tender piece of meat; only the tenderloin is more tender. You can read more about it here.
Garlic Ginger Paste can be found at any Indian grocery (quite cheap) or online here. It lasts for several months in the refrigerator and can divided up and frozen for much longer. In recipes calling for garlic and ginger, I will usually start with a teaspoon of the paste and add more if needed, to taste.
Asian Grilled Flat Iron Steak
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 medium stalk lemongrass, finely chopped or 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste (available at many larger grocers)
2 pound flat iron steak
1. Place steak in a zip lock bag. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour mixture over the steak. Refrigerate and marinate at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. Remove meat from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for at least one hour prior to grilling.
2. Preheat grill to medium high. Clean grill grates and spray with grill spray.
3. Remove meat from the marinade and discard marinade. Sprinkle lightly with lemon pepper. Place steak on heated grill, cover and cook 7-9 minutes, depending on thickness. Turn steak over and move to a slightly cooler part of the grill. Continue grilling 7-9 more minutes. Be careful not to overcook, this steak is best served medium rate to medium. Let meat rest for 10 minutes before thinly slicing across the grain.