Wednesday, June 30, 2010

6/19/10 - Lux Camping: Lobster Salad Roll

Our past few music festival trips have been brief and one of the places where we scale down in our meals. With only two of us needing a day's worth of food its tempting to just rely on vendors and forget about dealing with a grill all of the accessories that go along with cooking. However sometimes, especially at some of the smaller festivals, it can be risky to depend on the vendors alone, since they are not always open and sometimes run out of food. One way to deal with this is by sticking to cold food. From sandwiches to salads, cold dishes are a natural for a picnic.

There are some classic sandwiches that are easy but a little more time and effort can make a simple sandwich into a finer meal. This recipe works not only for lobster meat but also crab, salmon and tuna (which can all easily be found in the canned meats section). Make sure you have a nice roll to put this on since the bread is a big part of this dish. I used a Country White Deli Roll from Nature's Pride which was sent to me from FoodBuzz's Tastemaker program. This roll was the perfect match for my sandwich... especially when it was buttered and toasted a bit to give it a little crisp!

Monday, June 28, 2010

6/17/10 - Amazing Roasted Vegetable Salad

This salad isn't really a salad.... its a buffet! This everything salad was inspired by an excellent lunch I recently had at the Time to Eat Diner in Bridgewater, NJ. For under $15,  I got a plate filled to the brim with Grilled Steak, Chicken and Veggies as well as baby mixed greens. There was so much I actually split it in half for 2 days lunch. Since I was adding so many more veggies I decided to skip the meat and go with seafood as a little twist on the dish.

First I had to take a quick walk to the Farmer's Market to grab some potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and beets. When I got home, I roasted the veggie then prepared a mixed green salad that was the base of my dish. To top everything off I added some seafood which was the perfect compliment to the filling salad. Since I had different eaters with me I let everyone find their own mix from the ingredients mixed together. This meal was super easy to prep.... the only equipment needed is a sharp knife and a baking sheet (well and an oven!)> I am lucky to have an aunt who went to culinary school and frequently sharpens my knifes... if you aren't so lucky check out the Daily Special on FoodBuzz for a deal on the Chef's Choice Angle Select Knife Sharpener.

Check out our homemade Salad Bar:
Green Salad - Mix of red leaf, romaine and boston lettuce, cucumber, tomato, carrots and scallions
Roasted Potatoes
Roasted Beets
Roasted Veggies - Broccoli, Cauliflower, Red & Green Peppers
King Crab Legs
Tuna Salad - Tuna, mayo, pickles, chipotle mustard

6/28/10 - To market we go!

A Saturday at home means a trip into the city to the Greenmarket in Union Square. Its wonderful to visit my favorite stands and be inspired by all of the goodies. This week I had to be careful about sticking to my list though. I will be traveling on Tuesday though Thursday and then heading straight for vacation over the 4th of July. In my family, our tradition is a large family party on the 4th at our lake house in New Hampshire. When I was younger there would be upwards of 100 of us gathering together for a giant potluck buffet. But as we get older it becomes more and more difficult to all get together. While we still have many people gathering together each family tends to do their own thing for dinner.

I wanted to get a few things that could travel well so I could give my family a little taste of the Greenmarket. I decided that sausages were probably the easiest meat to transport and ready to grill up as a perfect lunch. Unfortunately even though we were up earlier than usually many of the vendors were already sold out! I guess you need to be even an earlier bird to catch the worm...uhhh sausage! We were able to get one of our favorites (the Bavarian Beef) and we did get some other things to try including some more of the baby fingerling potatoes which are just amazing when roasted! The rest of the goodies will become dinner tonight and tomorrow before our trip. Since we were running around I decided to throw some sliders together using some meat that I had ground a few weeks ago which made a delicious burger. On the side I served some swiss chard (from my CSA) and crimini mushrooms from the market (Bulich's Mushroom Farm) sauted with some shallots.
Click though to see our market finds!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner! ummm I mean Mrs. Peacock's Peanut Brittle!

I am a winner! One of the sites I belong to runs contests each week (you can see them on the bottom left side of my blog).... I signed myself up and just got an email that I won some of Mrs. Peacock's Brittle this week! Yum I can't wait to try it out

Thanks to Mrs. Peacock's and Foodie Blogroll

The Foodie Blog Roll Contests: Winner!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

6/20/10 - Garlic Scape Pickles

I love pickles... I can eat a whole jar in a day! OK I can eat a whole jar in one sitting...and I love to try and make some of my own things so it was natural that I wanted to try my hand at making refrigerator pickles (again). This is one of the methods for making pickles and results in the crisp fresh pickles that I like best. Usually labeled as New Pickles these only need to soak for 24 hours before they are ready to enjoy (after 1 week is best though)

The first time I made pickles things came out OK but this time I was prepared. I had saved some old pickle jars as well as getting some regular canning jars. I made my own spice mix again and added a few more ingredients. I also tried two different cuts - 1/2s and spears. Pickling is quite easy once you have the supplies. Just heat the vinegar, herb and spice mixture and pack the jars....pour the mix over and let cool then refrigerate. Don't forget to use a coated metal pot to heat the pickling mixture! Vinegar will react with most metals so you need to be careful when you are making your pickle brine. Check out the Daily Special on Foodbuzz today for the perfect pot, an enameled cast iron LeCruset.

click throught for my pickle brine

Sunday, June 20, 2010

6/18/10 - Softshell Crab Po'boy

A few weeks ago I went out to Long Island for the Nautical Mile Seafood Festival and had some delicious seafood. I was very impressed by the fish market and when I was recently back in the area I stopped into Two Cousins Fish Market in Freeport, NY. As I pulled up I noticed the special - soft shell crabs...Sold! I was soon thinking of all the ways to enjoy this delicacy. However, once I found this Mark Bittman clip I quickly made up my mind.

I made my own version of a remoulade sauce for the crab giving it a bit more of a bite. The fried crab is served on a fresh roll. I was excited to try the Nature's Pride that was sent to me as a part of the Tastemaker's Program on Foodbuzz. For this sandwich I used the Country White Bakery Buns which were delicious.This basic two-step cornmeal batter is a perfect for a nice crisp fried crab.

Keep reading for the recipe!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

6/16/10 - Garlic Ginger Seafood Stir-Fry

I know this recipe might seem familiar, but with so many veggies living in my fridge I wanted to get some of them used up before anything went bad. So here is a spin on the Garlic Chili Scallop Noodles that I made a few weeks back. However, I made a few key changes - I upped the veggies and removed the noodles making this perfect for anyone who might be looking for a low-carb options. With all the delicious and ripe vegetables (and fruits) available its easy to eat less carbs during the summer months for me.

There are some carbs that are just too good to give up....for me giving up fruit (which I snack on daily) crosses the line! What do you think? Are you a carb lover? What does it for you? Steamy hot mashed potatoes, Fresh crusty French loaf or just bowl of Grandma's pasta? Drool

Keep reading for the recipe!

Monday, June 14, 2010

6/14/10 - After the party: Crudite Plate into Chicken Stir-Fry

There are some parties where all you have the next morning is a splitting head-ache but others leave you with something a bit more enjoyable...leftovers! I usually don't enjoy having to eat the same meal over and over but in certain circumstances there is nothing out there that I am more thankful for. My latest party, a "Big Frickkin' Quarter Century hoe.down" for my friend Mary, was so much fun to plan and even more fun to attend. All of our friends decided to dress up in their best country bumpkin outfit and many came in full character. The next morning, after some advil and a few glasses of water, I went to assess the damage... not too bad!

While most of the food was down to the last scraps there was one thing that was pretty much untouched....the veggie plate! Apparently some of the other dishes were more interesting than my crudites plate. This was an easy recycling job. Since the veggies were already washed and cut, I was already halfway to a stir-fry. A bit of marinaded chicken cut into cubes and some brown rice finished this meal off. The Daily Special on FoodBuzz is another important ingredient in a good stir-fry...fresh oil. Use a cooking oil can like this to pour out a small amount of oil to keep convenient while you store the larger container out of direct light and heat will make sure you never have to deal with stinky bad oil again .

Check out the full menu from the party

Friday, June 11, 2010

6/11/10 - Strawberry Tart

With spring berries just starting to arrive at the market its hard not to think of dessert! This tart is one of my favorites and also one of my first dessert recipes.My aunt use to help me with this when I was younger but she has passed the recipe on to me now and I have fun creating it on my own (with a little help from my amazing architect boyfriend who is the BEST! at arranging the berries just so). One of the secrets to this tart is making sure you go over the berries with a fine tooth comb (so to speak!) and I have found that using a nice big colander to help wash them and get any grit off them is especially necessary when you are using farm fresh (vs those big mutant berries that you find year round in the stores) Luckily today's Daily Special is a wire mesh colander and is perfect for this task!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

6/4/10 - Secrets of fast heathy cooking...make your own spice rub!

While its fun to make creative, exciting recipes some nights getting dinner on the table and not picking up that phone to call for pizza is really all I can manage. This dinner doesn't look particularly exciting but it was easy and tasty. I wanted to add this becuase it is another example of a less time than takeout dinner that anyone can do. The basic meal is easy - marinade a protein while at work (or use a dry rub), steam a veggie and then grill (or saute) the protein.
Tonight dinner was marinaded pork chops that I cut off the bone into chunks before cooking since I was tired and hungry and wanted to eat fast! I was trying to get things done so fast that I forgot to marinade or run the pork with anything so I just sprinkd a bit on each side as it was cooking (for best results try to coat and let sit for 30 + min).  The best thing about this rub is that unlike store bought seasoning mix you get to decide what you like and what you don't. I try to have a bit of a few different blends (you can store them in spice jars or any air tight container)

Pork/Chicken/Beef Spice Blend (makes about 1 1/2- 2 c of seasoning)
3/4 c salt
6 tbsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp chipotle pepper
1 tbsp rushed red pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp all- spice
optional - 2-4 tbsp brown sugar (will help add a sweet caramelized flavor)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

6/2/10 - Black Sea Bass over Grilled Asparagus

With the weather heating up its getting harder and harder to cook dinner inside each night! Especially with my kitchen on the 3rd floor...yikes! We have been using the air conditioner for quite some time now - our Living/Dining/ Kitchen area just gets too hot. And forget the oven - its just not an option (I had to wait for a rainy day last week to make the 2 racks of baby back ribs I bought a month ago!) This dinner was fast and easy to cook up however there is one tool that needs to become part of my utensil draw (which is already out of control! but sometimes you just need one more!). Today's Daily Special on Foodbuzz is a Slotted Fish Spatula.....nice and flexible and long! Perfect for flipping a beautiful fillet like this Black Sea Bass which was simply seasoned with salt & pepper and placed on top of a bed of grilled asparagus. As you can see from my fillet wasn't so delicately turned and is a bit broken looking. Luckily looks doesn't matter as much when you food is mouth-watering and delicious.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

5/27/10 - Garlic Chili Scallop Noodles

I love all Asian food, but its always tricky when you order take-out. Sometimes its fast, hot and fresh and delicious.... and sometimes my favorite isn't open and I have to try some 'other' place and its eh... lets just say that was a failed test! When it was getting close to dinner the other night and I still hadn't started anything I began to visualize steamy hot bags of ginger scented goodness arriving (and no dishes to wash) but after the issue with the take out the other night (friends ordered some wings and it took forever and arrived ice cold...yuck!) I decided it might just be easier to make something up with whatever was hanging around. When I need something for dinner fast, seafood is a top contender, fast and easy to defrost and cooks up quickly.

I boiled up some water and finished defrosting some frozen scallops, while the pasta was cooking I cut up my veggies and got the pan hot and ready. I had a few different veggies on hand but feel free to toss more peppers, snow peas, baby corn, mushrooms etc in to make this dish even more delicious.

Garlic Chili Scallop Noodles
2 c whole wheat spaghetti- cooked
1 lb scallops - dried 
2 cloves garlic - smashed
2 shallots - diced
1/2 green pepper - diced
2 carrots - sliced thin on the bias
1 c broccoli florets
1" ginger - grated
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy
2 tsp garlic chili paste
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 red scallions - diced
1) cook the pasta according to directions - drain
2) In a large wok pan - heat up 1 tbsp oil and add shallots & garlic
3) Add carrots, green peppers, broccoli, ginger and 1 tbsp soy - cover to steam
4) In another small pan - heat remaining 1 tbsp oil
5) Add sesame seeds and toast
6) Once browned remove sesame seeds and place aside
7) Add butter and sear scallops
8) Once scallops are cooked, toss in 1 tbsp garlic chili paste
9) Add pasta and scallops to veggies - toss with remaining garlic chili paste, sesame oil, scallions and sesame seeds