Monday, June 25, 2012

Summertime Watermelon Skewers

When invited to a BBQ most of us bring something in a bowl, something marinated, or something to drink. Well here is something on a stick! It is not marinated, it is chopped and assembled. The saltiness of the feta, the sweetness of the watermelon and the savoryness (not a word) of the prosciutto make for a perfect bite. So why not put three perfect bites on a stick, it is portable, delish, and so easy for your backyard BBQ.
1 medium watermelon
3 blocks goat’s milk Feta
¼ Lb. of Prosciutto

A tip while looking for ingredients is to use goat’s milk Feta, it is has less of a bite than regular Feta, and is not as salty and wont overwhelm the watermelon. Also get a sample of Prosciutto and you want it to be on the savory sweet side.  Making this is so simple, and comes in a few simple steps. Remove the watermelon rind and all the white parts, and cube into 2 inch cubes. Now cube the feta into 1 inch cubes. On your skewer put a piece of watermelon, then a piece of feta, and tear a small piece of Prosciutto and put on the skewer. Repeat three times, place on a beautiful plate and serve!
There is not a single person that won’t love this.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Chip and Dip Fiesta!!

Summer fiestas are upon us. What better food gift to bring then homemade chips and dip. Summer to me always embraces spice and bright fresh flavors. So we decided to create a spicy dip, a spicy chip, a bright dip, and a bright chip! Here we made a bright olive oil salted rosemary chip, a roasted red pepper feta dip, a spicy roasted tomatillo salsa, and a cayenne lime chip. Mix and match and you won’t disappoint!

Roasted red pepper feta dip:
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup feta
2 med red bell peppers
1 Tlbs. Water
½ a lime

Tomatillo Salsa:
7 tomatillos
Salt and pepper to taste

3 packs of pita, approx. 15 pita breads
4 limes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 Tlbs. Salt
2 Tlbs cayenne
¼ cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut your pitas into 16ths and lay out on to 4 baking sheets. Set aside two sheets of pita slices. Take the two you have and drizzle with olive oil. Remove rosemary from stem and finely chop. Sprinkle salt and rosemary over your pita slices. Take your other two sheets of pita and squeeze as much lime as needed to get the pita wet. Sprinkle cayenne, so the bread appears slightly dusted. Place in oven and let bake for about 25 minutes or until crispy and browned. Check half way through and maybe flip around if your over is temperamental like ours.

*be sure to remove outer layer of tomatillo and wash all the stickiness*

On an open flame (we literally place vegetables on stop top burners) roast your bell peppers and tomatillos. You want the skin to blister and blacken, which is how you know your vegetables are fully roasted. Set asides tomatillos. We are now going to make the cheese dip.

Cut green tops off over your bell peppers, wash off blackened skin, wash out all of the seeds, and chop. Place feta cheese, cream cheese, bell peppers, water, and a squeeze of half a lime in blender and blend on high until all fleck of red blend together. Pour mix into a sauce pan on low heat and whisk until mi thickens as it reduces, about 5-7 min. Pour serving bowl and serve hot or chilled.
Now, super simple, place the tomatillos with blackened skin into a blended with a pinch of salt and pepper and blend. Pout into serving bowl and you can garnish either how you like.

Place chips around your dip and get to dipping!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Simple Summer Pineapple Lemonade with Agave Syrup

Everyone loves an ice cold glass of lemonade during the summer. Everyone also loves the tropical fruit pineapple over the summer, so we thought to throw the two together and make it a party. Instead of using sugar to sweeten this, we went for the healthier and more robust flavors of agave syrup. There are three types of agave. Light: with is a neutral flavor, amber: a mild maple flavor, and raw: deep and bold. For this recipe I am using amber, because the maple is so delish.  With this recipe, feel free to add more water or agave to sweeten it.  This is made a little tart because we love acidic food, so taste and adjust.

Serves 5-6
5 cups chopped pineapple from 1 pineapple
9 lemons
4 cups water
6 Tlbs. Agave

In a blender puree your pineapple. Once all your pieces are pureed, pour the mix through a strainer, using a spatula to push all the juice out of the pulp. You can set aside the left over pulp to use in a another recipe, or just toss out. In the same blender (cleaned out) squeeze your lemons through the strainer, in order to catch all the seeds, with the help and hand juice. Once you squeeze all of your lemons, pour your pineapple juice, water, and agave in. (You may want to do this all in portions so you don’t overflow your blender!) Mix in the blender so that the agave mix evenly dissolves into the drink. Pout mix into pitcher filled with ice and serve. We serve with a slice of lime to add some color.
When life you give you lemons….make agave sweetened pineapple lemonade!!!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Basil Lime Flank Steak with Creamy Chipotle Polenta

This dish is beautiful. It is a perfect way to get that beginning of summer grill feel. You get the kick of the chipotle in the polenta, mixed with the savory qualities with the meat, smothered in a bright marinade, topped with the perfect saltiness and chill factor of the queso fresco. There are so many ways to serve this dish, we opted for the individual plating, but it is equally as beautiful as a family style dish. Not only is it beautiful in your mouth, but also exquisite to look at.
Ingredients: Serving 4 people
Flank Steak (enough to serve 4 people) about 2-5 lbs. The steak greatly shrinks.

5 cloves of garlic
2 large bunches of basil
½ cup olive oil
2 limes
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper

Chipotle Polenta mix: ( you will have leftovers, it all depends on how it is served)
3 Tlbs. Olive oil
2-4 chipotle peppers (depending on heat you want)
2 cups Half & Half
½ cup water
2 cups polenta
3 Tlbs parmesan cheese

To make the marinade, tear leavse from two large bunches of basil and place in a blender with garlic, salt, pepper, and squeeze the juice from two limes. While blending pour in olive oil until mix becomes a smooth pesto like texture. Taste, and add more acidity of salt depending on your preference. Take your meat and place on a large plate and pour the marinade over it making sure that you fully soak both sides. Stick meat in the refrigerator and let sit and soak up flavor for at least 30 minutes.
For the polenta, start by boiling on cup Half & Half with ½ cup water, then add the chipotle mix. When the mix comes to a simmer, slowly add cornmeal or polenta mix while constantly whisking. You want to constantly whisk the polenta while adding ingredients, because it quickly thickens and hardens, so you want to play with the consistency. Throughout the process add the rest of the cream and the parmesan cheese. Whisk until the polenta has a smooth and creamy texture. This should take about 15-20 minutes.
You can start cooking your meat anytime throughout the polenta process, or wait to the end, because you can take the polenta off the heat, and add it back on to heat it back up. So, place your skillet or grill pan on a medium high heat. Once the pan is hot enough, place your meat in the middle, keeping the flame medium high. Let cook for about 7 minutes on side, or until you start to see it brown, and then flip. Once the other side browns, about another 7, you can turn the flame down a bit and constantly flip the steak to let the juices flow back and forth within the meat. We wanted to get a nice crust on the meat before we start cooking the inside to the temperature you want. Flip meat back and forth for about another 10 minutes. You can insert a knife into the thickest part of the steak to see if you have the proper temperature you want.
Remove the steak, and let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature, and then slice to serve! Slice meat over a little polenta, sprinkle some queso freso on top and serve with slices of lime and a little green salad. Anyone will be impressed by this dish!