Archive for June, 2010

This recipe was in the June edition of Bon Appetite.  This recipe is extremely simple and makes good use of summer ingredients.  Summer makes me crave fresh tomatoes.  I’m actually growing grape tomatoes in my container garden this year and can’t wait to make this salad with my homegrown tomatoes.  The tomatoes at the grocery store are great right now too.  If you extremely dislike, (I can’t use the word hate or I’ll owe my kids a dollar), dill, use a different fresh herb.  If you love fresh dill like I do this is a fantastic recipe.  Enjoy!

Dilled White Bean and Grape Tomato Salad

  • 2  15-ounce cans cannellini or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced or 2/3 cup red onion
  • ¼ chopped fresh dill or combination of dill and basil
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.  Season with salt (about ½ teaspoon) and pepper.  Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.  This can be made ahead and refrigerated, but be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.


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Its taken me a while to answer my first request, but here is my recipe for pork chops and apples.  I’ve made this about 25 times.  I always improvise but never really deviate from the basic honey and mustard combo because I like it so much.  You could definitely add different things to the sauce to spice it up. 

I had to use boneless chops because they were the only thing that looked good at the store when I was shopping.  If you are using chops on the bone add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.  I like my cinnamon apples really soft, so I cook them for about 25 minutes total.  If you like a little more texture reduce the cooking time at the end to 4 – 5 minutes.

Honey Mustard Pork Chops

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 pork loin chops ½ – ¾ inch thick
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium – medium high heat.  Season chops on both sides with salt and pepper.  Add chops to hot skillet and cook until browned, 3 – 5 minutes.  Turn chops and brown 3 minutes.  In a small bowl mix together the apple juice, mustard, honey, sage, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add mixture to skillet pouring it over the chops.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for about 4 minutes, or until just done.  Remove chops to serving plate.  Cook the sauce remaining in pan over medium high heat until slightly thickened and reduced.  Remove from heat.  Serve pork chops with sauce.

Sautéed Cinnamon Apples

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 – 5 Granny Smith or other firm apple, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat oil over medium heat; add apple slices to pan and sauté until slightly softened 5 – 7 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low and add butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Stir to combine and cook for an additional 8 – 10 minutes.

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This is an easy banana muffin recipe that I have been using for several years.  The original recipe is from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook.  I replaced some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat, adjusted the liquids accordingly, and omitted the nuts.  I think a banana is very ripe when it’s almost completely black, but make your own call on that one. 

This recipe is quick to mix together, only takes 18 minutes to bake, and my kids think it’s a great treat for breakfast.  I can no longer fool them and call them cupcakes, they’ve learned the difference, but these muffins are moist and delicious.  Since my son has a nut allergy we leave the nuts out, but if you like nuts add ½ cup chopped nuts to the batter after it is mixed together.

Banana Muffins

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar (or white sugar)
  • 1 large egg slightly beaten
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe banana (2 – 3 bananas)
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/3  cup olive oil (or whatever oil you like)

Preheat oven to 400°.  Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray well with cooking spray.  Combine flours, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  Make a well in center of dry ingredients and add the egg, mashed banana, milk and oil.   Stir until mixture is just combined.

Spoon batter into muffin pan filling each cup ¾ full.  Bake at 400° for 18 – 20 minutes or until golden.  Yield: 1 dozen.

Banana Bread:  Spoon batter into a greased 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan.  Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.

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Be very careful if you make this potato salad.  You will be asked for the recipe over and over and over at every event you take it to.  A friend and coworker (my boss actually), back when I used to work, shared this recipe with me and it has been my husband’s and my favorite cookout side dish ever since.  I have no idea how many times I’ve made it over the past 10 years, and no idea how many friends have asked for the recipe, but it is seriously really good.  And now you can have the knowledge for yourself, I’m feeling very generous.  By the way, the friend who originally gave me the recipe has a fantastic food blog you should check out at http://foododelmundo.com/.  She’s featuring burgers right now which would go great with this tater salad.  Cheers!

Smokin’ Redskin Potato Salad

  • 20 redskin potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 4 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 14 ounce package bacon
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ – 2 teaspoons Tabasco

Fill a large saucepan with 2 quarts water and add potatoes, liquid smoke and salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.  Drain water and spread potatoes on a large baking sheet to cool. 

While the potatoes are boiling, pre-heat oven to 375°.  Cover a large baking sheet, (one with sides), with parchment or waxed paper and spread bacon out in a single layer.  It’s ok if the bacon over laps a little.  Cook in oven for 20 – 25 minutes until crisp.  When bacon is done transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool. 

In a large bowl combine crumbled cooled bacon, mayonnaise, green onion, salt, pepper and Tabasco.  Add the cooled potatoes and gently toss to combine.  Check the seasonings and chill in fridge for at least 5 hours – overnight is even better.  For my family which includes young children I use ½ teaspoon of Tabasco.  For a group of adults I would add 2 teaspoons.

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It’s the first week of June and my sage is out of control!  I needed to use some and I saw a chef on Martha Stewart stick whole leaves to salmon and pan fry it.  It was very pretty, but he used an insane amount of butter and oil.  So to lighten it up a little, I used 2 tablespoons of butter for a 2½ pound side of salmon, stuck my sage on and baked it in the oven.  The result was flavorful tender salmon, without a crazy amount of added fat.  Salmon is fatty to start with, (probably why it’s so good, and somewhat forgiving) so I think just a little butter is good.  The sage leaves I used were enormous and by the way rather tasty.  My 3-year-old ate the sage off first then demanded the rest of us hand ours over.

Sage Brown Butter Salmon

  • 2 ½ pound salmon filet
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 8 – 10 whole fresh sage leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Place salmon on a large baking dish coated with cooking spray skin side down.  (My piece was too long for the 9”x13” pan so I cut the skinny end off and squeezed it in next to the larger piece.)  Season with sea salt and pepper. 

In a small pan melt butter over medium heat.  Heat until foam disappears then add the chopped sage.  Heat until butter browns.  Watch it carefully because this happens very quickly.  Remove from heat and carefully add the lemon juice to the butter in pan.  Pour or brush the butter mixture evenly over the salmon.  Place the sage leaves however you like on top of the salmon and press them down firmly.  Bake at 375°F for about 25 minutes.

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I made this rice dish as part of my husband’s birthday dinner last night and it was outstanding.  Its super simple, fresh and summery.  I doubled the recipe for 9 people and we had some leftover.  I used a mix of sweet basil and Thai basil, but it would be great with all sweet basil.  It went great with grilled filet mignon with horseradish aioli, smokin’ potato salad and savoy slaw with cilantro and mint.  I might get around to posting those recipes too.  Happy June!

Brown Rice with Tomatoes and Basil

  • 1 cup medium grain brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves (1 large bunch), chopped

Bring 2 1/4 cups water to a boil and add the rice and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Return to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the rice is tender and all the water is absorbed. Transfer the rice to a bowl.

Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Pour over the rice. Add the tomatoes and basil. Mix well and check the seasonings. Serve at room temperature.  Makes 4 half cup servings.

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