Friday, July 30, 2010

Basil Vinaigrette

I found this recipe in Food and Wine Magazine, and it fast became a family fav.

1 small garlic clove
1 cup packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar - i like orange muskat
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor, pulse the garlic until chopped. Add the basil and pulse until finely chopped. Add the oil, vinegar and crushed red pepper and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper

Homemade Thin Mint Cookies

I check like to check in on this blog - Le Petit Brioche - Ramblings of a Baking Addict. Christa seems to bake and photograph her food so that it melts in your mouth as you read about it. Take these photos of the Thin Mint Cookies. Could they be more beautiful? And tempting? Even though the fresh herb (mint) is not used except in the photos, I had to include the recipe.

Chocolate-Covered Chocolate-Mint Cookies
From Desserts by the Yard
By Sherry Yard

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp. peppermint oil
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate

Place the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse a few times to combine the ingredients. Add the butter and pulse to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Add the egg yolks, peppermint oil, and vanilla and pulse until a dough forms on the blades of the food processor.

Remove the dough from the food processor and shape into a 2-inch-thick log. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Place racks in the middle and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick disks and arrange 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Switch the baking sheets from top to bottom and rotate from front to back and continue to bake for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the cookies are light brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on racks. Make sure to let the baking sheets cool between batches. Do not handle the cookies until they are cool, or they'll break; they're very delicate.

Melt and temper the bittersweet chocolate. Keep the chocolate warm while you dip the cookies. Place a sheet pan upside down on your work surface, next to the melted chocolate. Cover with parchment paper. Dip the cookies one by one in the chocolate, using a fork to turn them over and then lift them out of the chocolate. It helps to tilt the bowl forward by leaning it on a folded kitchen towel.

Set the dipped cookies on the parchment, beginning at the far end so you don't drip chocolate on other cookies when you set them down.

Allow to cool completely, then store in an airtight container. Since the days of girl scout cookies, I like to store mine in the freezer, and eat them frozen too!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


From Whole Foods website, this twist on guac is healthy and yum. Serve with raw veggies or with Stacy's Pita chips.

1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 small, ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1 chipotle pepper
1/3 bunch cilantro
1/4 white onion, roughly chopped 

Juice of 2 limes

2 to 3 tablespoons water 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put edamame, avocado, chipotle, cilantro, onion and lime juice in a food processor and pulse until almost smooth. Add enough water to make a creamy consistency and pulse again. Transfer guacamole to a bowl, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chimichurri Rubbed Steak

Arlene and I like to take a particular cooking class at The Silo, with Jill Nicolson - Cinco de Mayo.

The Silo cooking classes are great because you cook, and eat, and drink, and learn all at once. And, you leave with the recipes in hand.

The Chimichurri Rubbed Steak (it was Beef Tenderloin in the class) has been a hit at my house many times.

So this week when Stew Leonards was having a $1.99 per pound sale on London Broil - I picked up two, made the rub, and served to praise.

The recipe follows.
1 cup flat leaf parsley - chopped fine
1/2 cup cilantro - chopped fine
2 tablespoons thyme - stemmed and chopped fine
1/2 cup white onion, minced
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons of kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 jalapenos, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

In a food processor combine all ingredients.
Puree until fine and smooth - around 2 minutes.
Rub the steak with the paste and let sit for 1 hour or longer.
Grill until desired doneness.


This weekend my husband Raul went to a reunion for his first job ever. Afterward we had a few of his old work "gang" back to our house for a BBQ and a few drinks. I served salad, chimichurri steak, corn on the cob, fresh guacamole and chips, peach salsa, and peach pie with vanilla ice cream - the last two (and the chips) I bought and served as is.

I like my salsa spicy. If you are not sure of how much heat you can handle, cut down on the jalapenos when you make it - and remember the more it sits the more the spice grows. You can really use any fruit instead of peaches... melons... plums...

chop it all and mix together - thats all it takes!

4 softish peaches
2 large tomatoes
1/2 vidalia onion
3 jalapenos - seeds removed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We'll save the bones for Henry Jones ‘cause Henry don't eat no meat

My dad used to sing that song and it really really annoyed my mom. So one day we had dinner and dad was working late. Mom left all the bones in a bowl in the middle of the table for my dad for dinner, to see if it would cure him of singing that song. It didn't.

I love to eat things off the bone. And chops are my favorite. Here I took a meaty pork (sorry mom) chop and basted it with a mixture of worcestershire sauce, grey poupon mustard, a few shakes of garlic powder, and a sprinkle of oregano. I broiled it about 6-8 inches from the heat, and turned the chop when it started looking a bit crispy around the edges.

I served it with Thai Pasta Salad from Balducci's, which is made of Thai noodles in Balducci's brand name special soy sauce, finished with sweet red peppers and fresh cilantro. And broccoli steamed, and tossed with cranberries, pine nuts, and the bare minimum of mayo — and garlic of course.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I love a good salad. And my lettuce of choice is Mache - which is known as a nutty french leaf. I used to be able to buy it all around town, but now I can only find it at Trader Joe's — and you have to get there early before it sells out.

Anyway, to my mache I add chopped figs, goat cheese, avocado, mini heirloom tomatoes, pecan halves, and fresh dill. Drizzle with olive oil, and Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar (also from Trader Joe's), add some fresh ground pepper and mustard seed, then toss. And, if anyone knows how to pronounce Mache - let me know!

Monday, July 19, 2010


This is really easy, and a good snack. I buy the marinated mozzarella balls (at Stew Leonards) and then put them on a toothpick with a grape tomato, and a basil leaf in between. If you pile them up the make quite a display, and they also look nice arranged in a circle on a round plate.

Brought these to Fourth of July last year and Stevie threw the tomatoes into the neighbors yard before he enjoyed the mozz and basil.