Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vanilla Ice Cream with Chopped Plums and Basil

I'm coming into my last week of class and I've been working almost non-stop all weekend. Luckily, I have Jason to take care of me and cook me dinner! He had been pouring through the cookbooks for inspiration and came up with an incredible spinach and goat cheese taco with a grilled chicken breast and pepita sauce. Incredible. Then, dinner was topped off by this simple, perfect summer dessert. I've been eating a lot of stone fruit recently and the plum - basil combination was divine. I'm not usually much of a dessert person but a little bit of this made me very happy. Make sure to buy some high quality vanilla ice cream!

Vanilla Ice Cream (we used Ben & Jerry's)
1 - 2 ripe plums
8 - 10 basil leaves
sprinkle of sugar

Dice the plums, chiffonade the basil, mix together with just a sprinkle of sugar and serve over a scoop of ice cream. Believe me, it's delicious!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Garlic Scape Pesto

I bought a bunch of beautiful garlic scapes recently at the farmer's market (yay summer!). Last year I had purchased a pre-made garlic scape pesto and figured this year I would try to make my own (the one I purchased last summer was delicious but way too garlicky for me).

Taking a look around the kitchen I found a mini bag of walnuts and a giant bunch of parsley and thought that those flavors combined with the garlic scapes would be wonderfully nutty while the parsley would help cut down a bit on the overpowering, headache inducing garlic flavor. And I was right. This pesto is delicious with the perfect amount of bite. Don't be confused, this is not your regular basil pesto, but I can't wait to try it out on some pasta this week or spread on a grilled chicken breast!


2 garlic scapes, cut into pieces
1 large handful fresh parsley
1 oz walnuts (approx)
Parmesan cheese (a couple of Tbsp?)
Dash of salt
Olive oil
Fresh squeezed lemon juice (optional)

-Combine the garlic scapes, parsley, walnuts, parmesan and salt in a food processor.

-With the blade running, drizzle in the olive oil until you get the desired consisteny, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

-Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and a dash of lemon juice if you like

This recipe can be doubled, tripled, whatever you like! I'm planning to make a few batches and freeze some for later in the season!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Abundance of Appetizers

I was adamant this year that I wanted to go out to dinner for my birthday and not to stay home and cook. I've never been one to go out to eat too frequently, and with the grad school budget that frequency has become even smaller. However, this seemed like a good excuse to go out and let someone else cook for us!

However, it's nearly impossible to keep us out of the kitchen for an entire Saturday so we decided to put together a few appetizers and a signature drink to share with our guests before heading out. We poured through a few cookbooks and in a shocking turn of events got a little carried away, but everything was delicious!

Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Goat Cheese Stuffed Asparagus

Ceci Bruschetta


Cucumber Tartine

Sparkling Wine with Watermelon, Ginger and Lime Agua Fresca

Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Goat Cheese Stuffed Asparagus

Ok, the name is a mouthful, but this appetizer is destined to be a hit! An original Jason creation, it was met with great excitement. I recreated the dish and while still good I would recommend that you have the person at your deli counter slice the prosciutto as thin as possible! Also, you want to use the largest asparagus you can find. This appetizer was labor intensive but well worth it.


8 Asparagus spears, as large as you can find
2 oz goat cheese (approx, we bought a 4 oz log and used less than half)
8 thin slices prosciutto (or go ahead and buy a little more for snacking...)

- Break the tough ends off of the asparagus

- Steam the asparagus until tender and beautifully green, removing and shocking in an ice bath

- Once the asparagus has cooled, slice each spear lengthwise into two halves (this is where things get labor intensive)

- With a paring knife, hollow out the center of the asparagus spear

- Using a small spreading knife, spread goat cheese into the hollowed out halves of the asparagus

- Put the two halves back together and wrap in a slice of prosciutto

- Continue with the rest of the asparagus in the same manner

- Put the asparagus on the grill and cook for a couple of minutes on each side

Ceci Bruschetta


1 cup ceci (chickpeas or garbanzo beans)
4 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp basil leaves, chiffonade
1 clove garlic confit
salt and pepper
1 baguette sliced and toasted

- In a bowl mix together all of the ingredients except the bread, adjusting to taste with salt and pepper, and let sit

- On the grill, lightly toast the sliced bread

- Lightly mash some of the chickpeas with a fork and serve with the sliced bread


We served this with grilled baguette slices and slices of mozzarella. Delicious. The recipe came from a book called Farm to Table that Jason and I have been enjoying from the library.


1/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic confit, minced
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
4 Large sweet peppers (we used 2 red, 1 orange and 1 yellow) thinly sliced
2 cups red onion
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
2 Tbsp capers
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves chopped
salt and pepper

- In a large skillet, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute about 1 minute

- Add the peppers, onions and thyme, reduce heat to medium and saute until peppers are soft

- Add capers and remaining oil and saute for about a minute. Transfer pepper mixture to a bowl

- Turn off heat, add vinegar to the skillet and reduce by half (the residual heat from the pan should be enough to make this happen, if not, turn heat on low for a minute or two)

- Pour the vinegar over the pepper mixture and add the oregano. Season with salt and pepper.

- Serve over a piece of crusty bread with a slice of mozzarella

Cucumber Tartine

There are few appetizers I enjoy more than little cucumber tea sandwiches. The rest of the appetizers we served definitely had more of a mediterranean feel, but I couldn't resist making this dish!


Several slices whole wheat bread, preferably something with seeds and grains, crusts removed, each slice cut into 2-4 squares
1 cucumber, peeled
4 oz. cream cheese
lemon juice
1 Tbsp parsely (approx)
1 Tbsp dill (approx)
salt and pepper
lemon juice

- Cut the cucumber in half and then halve each piece lengthwise

- Cut one half of the cucumber into very think semi circles. Place in a colander in the sink, sprinkle with salt and let drain

- Dice the other half of the cucumber and add to the cream cheese

- Add the parsley, dill, some salt and pepper and a dash of lemon juice to the cream cheese and mix together, adjusting seasoning as needed

- Just before serving, spread the cream cheese mixture onto the bread

- Arrange the cucmber slices on top of the pieces like fish scales and serve

Watermelon,Ginger and Lime Agua Fresca

I became obsessed with the agua frescas last summer and thought that another flavor combination would be great, particularly with a little sparkling wine to serve as our "signature cocktail" for my birthday appetizer celebration!

I used the juicer which made this recipe very simple. If you don't have a juicer you could definitely process the watermelon in a blender, grate the ginger and wrap it in a cheese cloth and press out the juices and juice the lime by hand, but this seems much easier!


1 Large watermelon slice (not a half, more like a quarter of a melon)
4-5 oz. piece of ginger
1-2 limes

- Juice each of the components separately into their own containers

- Mix the ginger and lime juice into the watermelon bit by bit, adusting for taste and cutting with water

- Chill in the fridge before serving