Thursday, June 24, 2010

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

This recipe is from a great friend, Erin S. She got the recipe from the Barefooted Contessa. I hope you enjoy it. It is very yummy. Sorry it took me so long to publish Erin!

4 to 5 pounds broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Roasted Vidalia Onions

Last night I made dinner for some friends. I saw this recipe somewhere a long time ago and it looked great. So I wanted to try it out. It went well with the main dish (Balsamic BBQ Chicken) that I decided to make it. Well it was delicious. Very, very, very good. There was NONE left for me to enjoy today. good thing I saved an onion. Quick, simple and delicious-- always a good combo when you cook.

4 Vidalia or other sweet onions, each peeled and cut into 8 wedges (about 2 pounds)
Olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Arrange onion wedges on a jelly-roll pan coated with oil; sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn onion wedges over; bake an additional 20 minutes or until onions are tender.

3. Spoon onions into a serving dish, and drizzle with vinegar.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Zuccotto Cake

Okay I have to say first and foremost, this is one of the best, lightest and easiest summer cakes to make. It is an Italian Summer Cake. I of course modified it a little bit, but really, really delicious. I made it Friday night for dessert when I had friends over, but I really do love this cake.

1 (12 oz) loaf pound cake (homemade or store bought, it doesn't matter)
1/4 cup brandy (I usually leave this step out)
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I prefer European, Swiss chocolate, but any will do)
2 cups chilled whip cream (Usually end up using 4 cups)
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted, coarsely crumbled
unsweetened cocoa powder (again Swiss preferred)

1. Line bowl with plastic wrap. Cut pound cake into thin slices. Line bottom and sides of bowl with cake. Brush some brandy over the cake. Reserve extra cake
2. Stir chocolate in a large metal bowl over sauce pan of simmering water until chocolate melts. Allow chocolate to cool slightly. Beat 1 cup of whipping cream until thick and fluffy. Fold 1/4 at a time into the chocolate. Spread chocolate cream over the cake, covering completely and creating a welled center. Cover & Refrigerate, if not assembling immediately.
3. In another large bowl, add remaining cream and almond extract. Using mixer beat on med speed gradually adding powdered sugar (if using more than 2 cups of cream, double powdered sugar). Beat until firm peaks form. Fold in nuts. Spoon the cream mixture into well, fill completely.
4 Brush remaining cake slices with brandy and arrange them, brandy side down, over the cake, covering the filling completely. Trim off to fit. Cover cake in the plastic wrap.
5. Refrigerate 3-24 hours.
6. Invert the cake onto platter. Remove from bowl. Sift cocoa powder over and serve.

My family loves, loves, loves this cake in the summer. It is a perfect. A light summer cake for those hot, hot summer days. Again, I don't use the brandy, but if you drink and you want to, go ahead. I have made it both ways and have to say I prefer it without the brandy.

Strawberries, Strawberries, Strawberries. Everything Strawberries!

Last week Michelle and I went Strawberry picking at Homestead Farms in Poolesville, MD. I love this farm. They always have great produce. It was fun despite the 90+ degree weather and we took home both Strawberries and Tart Cherries. So now I have all these strawberries, what shall I make? Well I made the following recipes with my strawberries.

Strawberry Jam
from Zooey Deschanel, published in Self Magazine in August 2009.

3 pints of strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup sugar cubes

Cook berries in a heavy sauce pan over low heat , stirring every 15 minutes, until jam-like in consistency, about 3 hours. Add sugar, using more (up to 3/4 cup) if you like your jam sweeter, and stir until dissolved. Transfer jam to a jar and let cool and refrigerate. It is fresh jam, so keep it refrigerated for no more than 2 weeks. Makes about 3 cups.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
Gourment, June 2001

1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3 strips fresh lemon zest
1/8 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 lbs. strawberries (3 cups), trimmed and quartered
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice.

Combine cream, zest and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and discard zest.
Whisk eggs with 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl,then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking. Pour back into saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and a instant read thermometer registers 170', DO NOT LET BOIL.
Immediately pour custard through a fine sieve into a metal bowl, then cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, at least until cold, about 2 hours, and up to 1 day.
While custard is chilling, puree strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and lemon juice in a blender until smooth, then force through fine sieve (to remove seeds) into chilled custard. Site puree into custard.
Freeze in ice-cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.