Summer Savory Pie

Nothing speaks to a cook like a bounty from the garden, so suffice it to say that I was more than excited when my friend, Annette, asked if I’d like to “pick the garden” during a recent visit to her and her husband’s beautiful hill country home.  I came home with some of the prettiest tomatoes I’ve seen since visiting Italy.  Not only were they picture perfect, but the flavor was outstanding.  Nothing like the cardboard texture and flavor we tend to get with so many of the grocery store tomatoes these days!

We enjoyed some delicious meals all week long centered around our homegrown tomatoes, and as I got down to the last of the bounty, I decided to make this dish.  The recipe is from my friend, Kathy Wilson, and she calls it her Summer Savory Pie.  I remember her making it for a shower we did together years ago for our girls, and it was a hit!  You can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner…or all three!

Summer Savory Pie

Summer Savory Pie

Summer Savory Pie

Courtesy of Kathy Wilson

Ingredients:

1/2 15 oz package of refrigerated pie crusts
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 purple onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
4 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (8 ounces ) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°.

Fit piecrust into a 9 inch deep-dish pie pan pricking bottom and sides with a fork.  Bake 10 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside to cool.

In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté bell pepper, onion and garlic 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in basil and set aside.

Whisk together eggs, half & half, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Stir in sautéed vegetables and cheese, then pour into cooled crust.  Top with thinly sliced tomato, and bake at 375° for 45 to 50 min or until set, shielding edges with strips of aluminum foil after 30 min to prevent excessive browning.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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

Lemony Chicken & Spring Veggie Soup

I try LOTS of different recipes, and I find them in all kinds of places…magazines, cookbooks, friends and all over the internet.  Today, I’d like to share a soup I found over on  “The Cozy Apron“.   Not only is it delicious, but beautiful, too!  I think you’ll enjoy the blog.  I sure do!

Just click on the link above, and it will take you right to the recipe! Enjoy!:)

lemony chicken and spring veggie soup

Photo by:  “The Cozy Apron

Chocolate Drizzled Cappuccino Macaroons

I’m a huge fan of both coffee and coconut, so when I saw these Cappuccino Macaroons in my Fine Cooking Magazine, I knew they’d be on my kitchen counter soon!

Not to be confused with the French Macarons (pronounced mah-kah-ROHNS), the delicate meringue sandwich-like cookies made with egg whites and almond flour, these macaroons (pronounced mah-kah-ROONS) are a southern coconut cookie made with egg whites and shredded coconut (NO flour).  They have a soft pillowy center with a golden crisp outside, and they’re very easy to make in comparison to the French Macaron which takes far more finese on the part of the baker.  I decided to make them a little more decadent and drizzled them with dark chocolate. They were a HIT!:)

Chocolate Drizzled Cappuccino Macaroons

Chocolate Drizzled Cappuccino Macaroons

Chocolate Drizzled Cappuccino Macaroons

Chocolate Drizzled Cappuccino Macaroons

Fine Cooking Magazine

makes about 20 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk (a little less than the whole can)
  • 1-½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4-½ cups (14 oz) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

 Preparation:

Place oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°.  Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.

Combine the condensed milk, espresso powder, cinnamon, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the coconut and stir with a large silicone spatula until thoroughly mixed.

Beat egg whites and salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Using the spatula, fold the whites into the coconut mixture pushing it together into a mound.

With wet hands or two wet spoons, gently form rounded tablespoonfuls of batter into balls about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Arrange 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

Bake, rotating and swapping the positions of the pans halfway through, until the macaroons are golden brown in spots and their undersides are lightly browned, 20-25 minutes.

Cool briefly on the baking sheets, then transfer the macaroons directly to the racks to cool completely.

Liz’s Tidbits:

The macaroons will keep, uncovered at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. They can also be frozen for up to 6 months.

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

Quick Tomato Soup

This recipe was a great find for me! My standard, go-to recipe calls for roasting fresh tomatoes in the oven.  Don’t get me wrong, that produces a great tasting soup, but sometimes I don’t have that kind of time!  I’ve hesitated trying recipes that call for canned tomatoes, because I just didn’t think they’d measure up, but I’m here to tell you that canned is the way to go! Use the good ones (San Marzano) and the tomato flavor will shine!  And who knew canned tomatoes have a higher concentration of cancer-fighting lycopene than fresh?  Bingo! A quick soup that’s healthy AND tastes great!

I made some of Nordstrom Cafe’s Parmesan-Garlic Crostini to go with the soup. Fantastic!

Quick Tomato Soup

Quick Tomato Soup

Quick Tomato Soup

slightly adapted from “Eating Well” Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley or thyme, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup half-and-half (optional…I did not add this)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ground pepper to taste

Preparation:

Heat butter and oil over medium heat in a large pot.  Add onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and thyme (or parsley) and cook another 30 seconds, lowering heat if necessary so that garlic does not burn.  Stir in canned tomatoes with juices, add broth, and bring to a low boil over high heat.  Reduce to simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Either puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender (take care when blending hot liquids).  Stir in salt & pepper and half-and-half if using.  Garnish with either thyme or parsley.

LIZ’S TIDBITS:

  • You can easily double the recipe, and it freezes really well.  Use three 28-ounce cans of tomatoes if doubling. Do yourself a favor and buy the good San Marzano tomatoes.  You will be glad you did!

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

Orange, Avocado & Shaved Fennel Salad

Trader Joe’s is one of my all-time favorite grocery stores!  They carry so many great things, and I love checking out their most popular items to try…(see this article and this one, too!)  One of my favorite products is this Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar.

Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar

Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar

It’s absolutely delicious! I use it with extra virgin olive oil on salads, (think roasted beets, walnuts, feta cheese and mandarin oranges splashed with this vinegar) or mix with a bit of roasted sesame oil and use on top of Chinese Chicken Salad.  It can also be used straight from the bottle for marinating fish or chicken!

The other night, I mixed it with olive oil and splashed it over a salad of baby arugula, freshly sliced oranges, shaved fennel and shallots with some diced avocado.  It was OUTSTANDING and PRETTY, too!!😉

Blood Orange, Fennel & Avocado Salad

Arugula, Orange & Fennel Salad

Orange, Avocado & Fennel Salad

Adapted from Epicurious.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 2 oranges, peeled (all pith removed) and sliced crosswise
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (some fronds saved for scattering on top)
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, cubed

Dressing:

  • 5 Tablespoons Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Whisk together until well combined.

Preparation:

Place arugula on a platter and top with fennel, oranges, shallots and avocado.  Drizzle with dressing and add some freshly cracked pepper and some of the fennel fronds.  Bon Appetit!

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • The use of a mandoline is very handy for shaving the fennel and shallots!
  • Thinly sliced red onion can be substituted for the shallot if preferred! And as always, use more or less of anything depending on your taste and preference!

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

Still Haven’t Made Valentine’s Reservations?

By now, if you haven’t made dinner reservations for Valentines, it’s a pretty safe bet that you won’t be dining out! Don’t sweat it, though, as I have a few last minute ideas for cooking at home! Let’s face it, restaurants are going to be packed, and even if you could get reservations, who wants to fight the crowds? Stay home, light some candles and enjoy a nice dinner with your sweetie!

How about

Steak with Brandy Mustard Sauce

Not in the mood for steak?  How about

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

or

Pan Sautéed Redfish with Corn Tomato Avocado Relish

For dessert, this might just satisfy your chocolate craving!

Easy Chocolate Kahlua Mousse

 

 

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Double Heart

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

Dutch Baby…The Perfect Valentines Day Breakfast

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue…I’m making this special breakfast JUST FOR YOU!

Valentines Day is right around the corner, and while there are many different ways to let your sweetheart know just how much you love them, this breakfast will knock their socks off!!  It’s beautiful, delicious and just has “special” written all over it!

It’s called a Dutch Baby, and it’s also known as a German pancake or a Dutch Puff.  It’s super easy to whip up, does it’s magic in the oven in just about 15 minutes and will make you look like a SUPERSTAR!  You can top it with any mixture of fresh berries, but I like to top mine with sliced strawberries that have been macerated (soaked) in Grand Marnier (orange flavored liqueur)!  What better way to start the “Day of Love” than by making this special breakfast for your sweetie?  Serve up a couple of Mimosas, and can we say OVER THE TOP??

Happy Valentines day, everyone!

Dutch Baby

Dutch Baby with Grand Marnier Strawberries

Dutch Baby with Grand Marnier Strawberries

Valentine Wreath

Dutch Baby with Grand Marnier Strawberries

Ingredients:

Dutch Baby

  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Strawberries:

  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ cup Grand Marnier
  • powdered sugar, (optional)
  • maple syrup (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine strawberries, sugar and Grand Marnier in a small bowl and set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat eggs & milk until combined.  Slowly add flour, salt, vanilla and orange zest and mix until smooth.

Heat butter in a large skillet (I like to use my cast iron for this) over medium heat just until melted.  Pour in batter, place into hot oven and bake about 15 minutes until puffed and light brown.  Remove and top with berries.  You can serve it with maple syrup if you’d like, but I find the berries sweet enough without it.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • Cointreau and Triple Sec are also orange flavored liqueurs, and can be substituted for the Grand Marnier.
  • The Dutch Baby will puff up while baking in the oven, but don’t be alarmed when the sides shrink down once you take it out.

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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