Monday, June 21, 2010

Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil - Caprese Appetizers

I am loving mozzarella lately!  I can eat it plain, jazzed up
with seasonings, breaded, fried, and placed
on top of a salad.  It's all good!

A few nights ago, I served it caprese style - on a stick.

The flavors are simple and wonderful.

This is all you need:

cherry tomatoes, halved
fresh basil leaves
small marinated mozzarella balls
toothpicks
olive oil
salt and pepper

1.Thread a tomato half, a basil leaf, and a mozzarella ball
onto toothpicks until all ingredients are used.

2.  Drizzle the olive oil over the tomato, cheese and basil.

3.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.
This was a nice contrast to the heavier pasta
I served at dinner.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Dinner on the Deck

Sometimes hubby and I go out on Friday or Saturday night but
when we don't, and the weather is nice, we like to have
"Dinner on the Deck." This can involve firing up the grill
but not always. Sometimes I'll cook in the kitchen
and the two of us will carry our plates outside. The kids
usually stay in and play games, watch TV, whatever,
and since we all have dinner together on the other nights,
this is okay with us.

Our back deck is a nice atmosphere for dining in
because we mostly face old, established trees that
are surrounded and inhabited by an abundance of birds
and other critters, like squirrels, rabbits,
and neighborhood cats.
This is what we like to call "The Nature Show".

Tonight we're grilling spicy beef kabobs and serving them
over white rice jazzed up with garlic and onion.
On the side, we're having pita bread with cucumber raita.

Makes me hungry just thinking about it!






















Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gorgeous Green Beans

I served these last night with broiled halibut steaks and new potatoes seasoned with butter and parsley. My husband commented twice about the colorful presentation. It was so pretty I wish I had taken a photo of my entire plate but I was just so hungry it didn't occur to me at the time.

Here's the recipe:
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
1/4 c. real butter
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 c. cherry tomato halves

1. Place beans large saucepan and cover with water.

2. Cover saucepan and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.

(I like to taste a bean every once in awhile to make
sure they don't get overcooked.)

4. Drain in colander and set aside.

5. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.

6. Stir in sugar, garlic salt, pepper and basil.

7. Add tomatoes, and cook stirring gently just until soft.

8. Add green beans to the skillet and toss gently to blend.

These could possible be my favorite green beans - ever!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fabulous Crab Cakes

When shopping for crab meat you will see it categorized
as either back fin, claw, or lump.
For crab cakes, you want lump meat.
Lump crab meat generally costs
$20 - $30 per pound.
Imitation crab meat (usually white pollock)
is an economical alternative but, in my opinion,
it's just not the same.

We don't have it very often though so I like to splurge
and get the good stuff!  It's definitelly worth it!
This is the recipe that I use every time we
have crab cakes and they are always delicious:

1/3 c. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4c. green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/4c. red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
4 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
2 egg whites
2 TBSP mayonnaise
1 TBSPfresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. onion powder
18 oz. crabmeat, drained and flaked
1/2 c. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
1 c. olive oil
 
1.  Wrap peppers in a paper towel and squeeze
out excess liquid.
 
2.  In a medium size bowl, toss together the 1/3 cup bread
crumbs, green bell pepper, red bell pepper,
green onions, and parsley.
 
3.  Mix in the egg whites, mayonnaise, lemon juice,
Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard.
 
4.  Season with Old Bay seasoning, dry mustard,
and onion powder.
 
5.  Fold crabmeat into the mixture.
 
6.  Form into 6 large cakes.
 
7.  Coat in the remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs.
 
8.  Place crab cakes in freezer for 20-30 minutes.
(This helps to keep them from falling apart
during the frying process.)
 
9. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet.
Fry the cakes 5 minutes on each side,
or until evenly brown.
Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
 
I like to sprinkle these with a little more Old Bay
just prior to serving with a red pepper sauce.
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Monday, June 7, 2010

Sage Pork Chops


I have been making these pork chops for several
years now and they are always a hit!

In fact, they are one of my youngest son's
absolute favorite meals!

Here is the recipe:

2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. ground black pepper
4-6 center cut pork chops
2 TBSP real butter
1 c. water
2 cubes beef bouillon
 
1.  Combine the salt, sage, and black pepper in a small bowl
and rub on both sides of the chops.
 
2.  Melt the butter or margarine in a large skillet over
medium high heat and saute the chops until well browned.

3.  Meanwhile, in a separate small saucepan over
high heat, combine the water and the bouillon and stir
until bouillon dissolves.
4.  Add this to the chops, reduce heat to low,
cover and simmer chops for 45 minutes.

Enjoy!



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