Grilled Corn and Salmon Panzanella Salad

Whether fresh from the garden or straight from the farmers market, one of the BEST things about summer is the abundance of really good tomatoes!  I just so happened to get my hands on some of the last tomatoes for this season and wanted to showcase them in a nice salad.  With the temperatures still soaring well into the 90s here in Texas, it makes it hard to want to turn on the oven, so this is a meal you can prepare outside on the grill!  Each ingredient in this salad stands out, so the key is to make sure you get REALLY GOOD “quality” ingredients…I, personally, like to use as much “organic” as possible.  Grilled sweet corn makes an appearance along with grilled ciabatta bread (panzanella actually refers to a Tuscan salad with bread).  Throw in some sliced English cucumber, thinly sliced shallots and fresh basil– then top it all off with some delicious New Zealand salmon (for you locals, Groomers Seafood is my favorite place to buy seafood, and they carry New Zealand salmon!)  A lovely light champagne vinaigrette takes it over the top!

Grilled Corn and Salmon Panzanella Salad

Grilled Corn and Salmon Panzanella Salad

 

2014 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir

I served a 2014 Paul Hobbs Russian River Vally Pinot Noir…Fabulous!

Grilled Corn and Salmon Panzanella Salad

serves 4

Ingredients:

Salad

  • 4 cups organic mixed greens (I used spinach, arugula, swiss chard)
  • 2 ears sweet corn, grilled and kernels removed (I like to leave some of the kernels intact when slicing them off the cob)
  • ½ English cucumber, sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups diced heirloom tomatoes, (leave whole if cherry tomatoes)
  • handful fresh basil, torn into small pieces
  • 1/3 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced lengthwise
  • grilled salmon, skin removed (see Liz’s Tidbits)

Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

Whisk vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper together.  Slowly whisk in olive oil until combined.  (See Liz’s Tidbits!)

Preparation:

Brush bread with olive oil, salt & pepper and grill, cut side down, until you get some nice grill marks. Cut into bite sized pieces and set aside. Grill salmon to desired doneness, remove skin and break up into nice chunks.  To assemble salad, put greens in a large bowl and add rest of ingredients.  Drizzle with vinaigrette.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • For vinaigrettes, I like to add all my ingredients to a small mason jar, put on the lid and shake until combined.  SOOO easy!!! You can leave any unused dressing in the jar in the fridge for several days.
  • Instead of grilling a whole side of salmon, sometimes I’ll order (10 ounce) filets with the skin OFF from Groomers.  I’ll brush with just a bit of olive oil, then pan sear them (in an oven proof, non-stick skillet) over medium high heat for about 2 minutes or until a nice crust appears.  Turn over, and transfer the skillet to a 450 degree oven for maybe 3 minutes for medium to medium rare salmon.  Leave a bit longer if you like a more well done result.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Cioppino and our trip to Cinque Terra, Italy

“Favorite Son” came home from college for the weekend, and requested one of his favorite dishes called “Cioppino”.  He and his dad have ALWAYS LOVED this dish, and since we were celebrating several things that evening with a very nice bottle of Champagne, I agreed.

Cioppino, (pronounced chə-ˈpē-nō) actually came to the U.S. by way of Italian immigrants who had settled in the San Francisco area.  If a fisherman came back at the end of the day empty handed, he would take his pot and walk around to other fisherman asking for any leftover fish they could “chip in”.  Whatever ended up in their pot would become their Cioppino! The dish later became a staple as Italian restaurants started popping up all over San Francisco.

Today, similar dishes are found in coastal regions throughout the Mediterranean. Generally, the seafood in the stew is cooked in broth and served in the shell. You can also serve what is called “lazy man’s cioppino”, referencing the fact that all shells have been removed prior to serving…not as much fun, but much less messy!!

My fondest memory of enjoying Cioppino is from our trip to Cinque Terra in northwestern Italy.  Vernazza, one of the five towns that make up the Cinque Terra region is one of the most quaint little fishing villages on the Italian Riviera…just breathtaking!  Hubby and I hiked from Monterosso al Mare (the first of the villages) up one side of the mountain and then down to the next village of Vernazza.  We lunched at a little cafe called Taverna Del Capitano and had the most wonderful Cioppino we’d ever tasted!

This particular recipe is one I’ve adapted from Chef Tyler Florence after trying several different styles.  While it’s not necessarily authentic due to the added Spanish chorizo, it makes for a much heartier broth, and my boys say it’s their favorite!  Please don’t mistake Spanish chorizo for Mexican chorizo–it’s definitely not the same!  Click on this “link” for a wonderful Spanish chorizo that’s actually made right here in my own home town of Boerne, Texas! Serve with a nice crusty loaf of french bread for soaking up all that delicious broth! Bon Appétit!!

Cioppino

Cioppino served at Taverna Del Capitano in Vernazza

Monterosso al Mare

We hiked up Monterosso al Mare…about a 3 hour hike!

 

Cinque Terra

It’s a beautiful hike meandering through lots of vineyards, and the locals living along the hike are so friendly!

 

Vernazza

HELLO Vernazza!! Once you’ve hiked to the top of the mountain, this is the view you feast your eyes on! Just breathtaking!

 

Vernazza, Cinque Terra, Italy

Each little inlet is it’s own fishing village only accessible by boat or train.

 

Vernazza, Cinque Terra, Italy

Isn’t this just GORGEOUS?

Cioppino-Seafood Stew

adapted from Tyler Florence

Ingredients:

  • 5 links “Spanish” chorizo
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Marzano tomatoes, drained, hand-crushed with juice reserved 
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 16 clams, scrubbed
  • 16 mussels, scrubbed
  • 16 large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 12-15 bay scallops
  • 1 small filet of cod (cut into 4 pieces approx 3-inches each)
  • 1/4 bunch Italian parsley, chopped for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation:

In the bowl of a food processor, place chorizo, onion, garlic, celery and tomatoes, and pulse until pieces are small and well ground up.  Transfer this mixture to a Dutch oven, and cook over medium heat until well colored and fat is rendered. Once cooked, add the flour, thyme and bay leaves, and sauté for another 5 to 7 minutes (this forms the base of a roux). Add red wine, reserved tomato juice and chicken stock. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. With 10 minutes left go, bring to a boil and add the clams and mussels.  Cover and steam until mussels and clams open (5-7 minutes) and discard any that don’t open. Reduce the heat to simmer, nestle fish into bottom of pot, add scallops and shrimp, cover, and simmer just until cooked.  This will only take a few minutes, so be careful not to overcook.  Remove the bay leaves, ladle into large shallow bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley.  Serve with a crusty french bread!

Bon Appétit!

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • Any mixture of seafood will work in this stew, so choose your favorites! Throw in some crab legs or maybe try a couple of whole Dungeness crabs (cut into about 6 pieces).  If you don’t like cod, try halibut or any other firm white fish.  Just add all the seafood at the last part of cooking so it’s not overcooked!
  • I can’t emphasize enough the importance of using “Spanish” chorizo and NOT Mexican chorizo.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Shirazi Salad

If you’re looking for a totally refreshing salad for a hot summer day, look no further! OMG…I could eat this all day long! You’ll find it on many mediterranean restaurant menus, as it’s named for the Iranian city of Shiraz, the capital of Fars Province. Many recipes call for various different ingredients, but the one I tasted was simple and light and utterly addicting! Tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and mint surrounded by a light fresh lemon dressing. It’s a marriage made in heaven!

Shirazi Salad

Shirazi Salad

Shirazi Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 English cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup red or green onion, diced
  • ⅓  cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Preparation:

Place tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and mint in a bowl.  Whisk together lemon juice and olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.  Combine all and stir.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Mom’s Rich Cocoa Crinkle Cookies

About a year ago, Mom moved from Oregon back to Texas.  There’s a saying that you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl! We are all VERY happy to have her back here where she belongs!  With that said, Mom loves to bake! I’m not saying we wouldn’t love her just as much if she didn’t, but let’s just say we love it that she does!  These chocolate crinkle cookies are TO…DIE…FOR!  Rich chocolate bites of chewy goodness that completely satisfy that chocolate craving!  Be careful…they’re so good you might find them disappearing just as quickly as you take them out of the oven!

Mom's Rich Cocoa Crinkle Cookies

Mom’s Rich Cocoa Crinkle Cookies

Mom & Me at Tyler Florence's Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco

Mom & Me at Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco

Mom’s Rich Cocoa Crinkle Cookies

makes about 6 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Hershey’s cocoa
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ⅓ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar

Preparation:

Stir together sugar and oil in a large bowl.  Add the cocoa, beat until well blended, then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt, then gradually add the cocoa mixture, beating well. Cover and refrigerate until dough is firm enough to handle, at least 6 hours.

Heat oven to 350°, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (if no parchment, spray with nonstick spray). Shape dough into 1-inch balls, roll in powered sugar to coat then place about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched lightly and tops are crackled. Cool slightly, then remove  to a wire rack to cool completely.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Farro, Dried Cherry & Toasted Pecan Salad w/Feta

Never heard of farro?  Well, it’s a type of ancient wheat grain, and you might be surprised to know that it’s been around for thousands of years! Because of its high fiber content, it’s gaining popularity for it’s many health benefits.  And, we’re all over health benefits, right??  This salad combines the nuttiness of the farro, the sweetness of the cherries and the saltiness of the feta all in one healthy dish.  Throw in some pecans for crunch, fresh parsley and green onion to freshen it up and a light and tangy fresh lemon dressing to finish it off.  It’s one of my new favorites!  🙂

Farro, Dried Cherry & Toasted Pecan Salad w/Feta

Farro, Dried Cherry & Toasted Pecan Salad w/Feta

Farro, Dried Cherry & Toasted Pecan Salad w/Feta

Adapted from Southern Living Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup farro
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup toasted pecans, chopped (See Liz’s Tidbits)
  • ¾  cup dried cherries
  • ⅓ cup chopped green onions
  • ¼ cup chopped italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup feta cheese

Preparation:

Bring farro and broth to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low, cover tightly and cook until the farro is tender 20-25 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cool water. Then set aside to cool.

Once cool, stir in remaining ingredients.  I like to add my feta cheese to the top just before serving.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • To toast nuts, place them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350° for 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned. I like to toast a whole sheet pan full then keep them in a mason jar in the fridge for when I need them.
  •  I like organic produce when I can get it.  It’s just a personal preference.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Fresh Peach Coffee Cake w/Pecan-Cardamom Streusel

Fresh peach season is quickly coming to an end, but, luckily I had enough left for this amazing Fresh Peach Coffee Cake. Southern Living Magazine featured the recipe earlier this summer, and it looked amazing!  Cinnamon and cardamom are perfect partners for the juicy peaches, and the streusel takes it over the top! Who doesn’t love the smell of coffee cake baking in the oven?  If you’re a peach lover like me, I think you’ll love this cake.  Bake it up, grab yourself a slice early in the morning and snuggle up with a cup of coffee…PERFECT!

Fresh Peach Coffee Cake w/Pecan-Cardamom Streusel

Fresh Peach Coffee Cake w/Pecan-Cardamom Streusel

Fresh Peach Coffee Cake w/Pecan-Cardamom Streusel

Southern Living Magazine

Streusel:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Cake:

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2-3 ripe peaches

Preparation:

Pecan Streusel: Preheat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, stir together pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, flour, sugar and cardamom. Add cold butter pieces, and combine with fingers until a sandy texture is achieved.

Cake: Sift together baking powder, flour, sugar, and cardamom. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream, vanilla, egg, and melted butter until frothy, about 1 minute. Fold in the flour mixture with a spatula until blended, taking care not to overmix.

Slice each peach into 8 wedges. Transfer the batter to a lightly greased and floured 9-inch springform pan, and smooth the surface. Arrange peach slices evenly over the batter, and cover the top evenly with the streusel, pressing lightly.

Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack 1 hour. Remove sides of pan before serving.
If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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One-Skillet Chicken with Summer Peaches

Nothing says summer like a really good peach! Their season doesn’t last long, but when it’s here, I love to take advantage and use them in as many recipes as possible! Today I had the opportunity to snag some great peaches from my local farmstead and decided to pair them with the chicken I had out for dinner. Since I haven’t gotten around to making my big batch of pesto yet, I still have a BIG pot of basil calling to me from our backyard. Yes, I think to myself, basil goes nicely with peaches!

The great thing about this recipe is it’s a one skillet dish! Who doesn’t like just one dish to wash?  Go grab yourself some peaches while they’re still around, and give this dish a try. Try tweaking it to your own taste…maybe try white wine or marsala wine instead of the sherry.  Maybe throw in some other fruit with the peaches like blueberries or blackberries.  Lots of possibilities here!  🙂

Got peaches? Give these other recipes a try, too!

Peach and Blackberry Trifle

Peach Galette

Fresh Peach and Blackberry Cake

One-Skillet Chicken & Summer Peaches

One-Skillet Chicken & Summer Peaches

One-Skillet Chicken & Summer Peaches

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-4 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (about a 1-inch knob, peeled)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 3-4 peaches, sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves chiffonade (or chopped), more for garnish (see how to chiffonade in Liz’s Tidbits)
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Heat the oven to 400°. Pat the chicken dry on both sides with paper towels, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken, and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Reduce heat, add the shallot and cook until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan, and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30-45 seconds. Add the sherry and chicken stock, and return the chicken along with its juices to the pan. Transfer to the hot oven, and bake about 10 minutes. Remove and add the peaches and basil, and bake another 5 minutes or until the juices run clear. Remove from oven and garnish with some small whole basil leaves.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • The term Chiffonade means to finely cut or shred.  Click here to see a video on how to Chiffonade basil!

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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