Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Greek Panzanella

This Barefoot Bloggers recipe was chosen by Tara of Smells Like Home. Panzanella is a Tuscan bread salad, typically made with bread, tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, and other vegetables. While it’s traditionally an Italian dish, this recipe combines panzanella ingredients with bold Greek flavors.

I had received most of the ingredients in my CSA box, so I didn’t have much to buy at the grocery store, and the vegetables were fresh from the farm. Now, I didn’t get exactly all the ingredients—for example, instead of red and yellow bell peppers I had the green variety—but you use what you have, right? Also, since I had a regular cucumber instead of a hothouse cucumber (also called an English cucumber), I did peel it. The last change I made was omitting the olives, since neither McHubby nor I like them.

What a fantastic selection this was! I loved this dish! This dish is just pretty with the variety of colors, as well as super flavorful. I will be making this dish again and again!

Source: Greek Panzanella, Barefoot Contessa


Good olive oil

1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)

Kosher salt

1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced ¼-inch thick

1 red bell pepper, large diced

1 yellow bell pepper, large diced

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

½ red onion, sliced in half rounds

½ pound feta cheese, cut in ½-inch cubes

½ cup calamata olives, pitted

For the vinaigrette:

nocoupons2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup good red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup good olive oil


Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Add more olive oil as needed.

Place the cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper in a small bowl. While still whisking, add the olive oil and make an emulsion. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta, olives and bread cubes and mix together lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Squash Gratin

We had received so many summer squash in our CSA box, so I thought a gratin would be perfect. This recipe, from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks fabulous blog, is perhaps the best tasting squash dish I’ve had. There is so much flavor with the summer squash, fresh herbs, garlic, and cheese. The squash is not mushy as is common in squash casseroles, and the bread crumb topping is sublime with a wonderful crunchy texture. I highly recommend using the freshest ingredients possible for this recipe, because the flavors are so simple and yet you can taste each element of the dish. This is a side dish that tries to outshine the main dish!

Summer Squash Gratin, 101 Cookbooks

Zest of one lemon
1 ½ pounds summer squash or zucchini, cut into ⅙-inch slices
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
¼ cup fresh oregano leaves
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley
1 large garlic clove, chopped
¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 cups fresh whole wheat bread crumbs*
½ pound waxy potatoes, sliced transparently thin
¾ cup grated Gruyere cheese, grated on a box grater

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place a rack in the middle. Rub a 9x9 gratin pan (or equivalent baking dish) with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with lemon zest, and set aside.

Place the zucchini slices into a colander placed over a sink, toss with the sea salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes (to drain a bit) and go on to prepare the oregano sauce and bread crumbs.

Make the sauce by pureeing the oregano, parsley, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, and olive oil in a food processor or using a hand blender. Set aside.

Make the breadcrumbs by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until the butter is wonderfully fragrant, and has turned brown. Wait two minutes, then stir the breadcrumbs into the browned butter.

Transfer the squash to a large mixing bowl. Add the potatoes and ⅔ of the oregano sauce. Toss until everything is well coated. Add the cheese and half of the bread crumbs and toss again. Taste one of the zucchini pieces and add more seasoning (salt or red pepper) if needed.

Transfer the squash to the lemon-zested pan, top with the remaining crumbs, and bake for somewhere between 40 and 50 minutes—it will really depend on how thinly you sliced the squash and potatoes—and how much moisture was still in them. You don't want the zucchini to go to mush, but you need to be sure the potatoes are fully baked. If the breadcrumbs start to get a little dark, take a fork and rake them just a bit, that will uncover some of the blonder bits. Remove from oven, and drizzle with the remaining oregano sauce.

*To make breadcrumbs cut the crust off 2-3 day old artisan bread. Tear into pieces the size of your thumb, and give a quick whirl in the food processor.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Smoked Salmon Frittata

I bought some farm fresh eggs from the local farmer’s market to make this frittata. This is a beautiful frittata—both visually and in flavor—that makes an excellent breakfast or brunch dish. It is a tasty marriage of the salty-smoky salmon, the creamy melted goat cheese, the tangy dill, and the sweet onions. In other frittata recipes, I usually cook the eggs first in the skillet and finish them off in the oven, but this recipe cooks the eggs entirely in the oven. It ends up perfectly puffed and golden brown. We loved this dish!

Source: Smoked Salmon Frittata, Barefoot Contessa

1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
12 extra-large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, such as Montrachet, crumbled
½ pound smoked salmon, chopped
3 scallions, chopped, white and light green parts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Saute the onion and butter in a 10-inch oven-proof omelet pan over medium-low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the heavy cream, goat cheese, smoked salmon, scallions, dill, salt, and pepper and combine. Pour the mixture over the onions and place the omelet pan in the center of the oven. Bake the frittata for about 50 minutes, until it puffs and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve hot directly from the pan.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Crispy Pesto Potatoes

Our CSA box contained so much basil this week, so I used it to make pesto. I also used the CSA potatoes for this recipe. Seriously, recipes don’t come easier than this. The potatoes come out of the oven crispy and so flavorful. Super easy and tasty side dish!

Source: Crispy Pesto Potatoes,

1 ½ pounds baby red potatoes, halved, cooked and drained
¼ cup basil pesto,
homemade or store-bought

Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place hot potatoes and pesto in large bowl; toss to coat. Spread potatoes on prepared baking sheet. Broil about 5 inches from heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

For one of the Barefoot Bloggers recipes this month, Maria of Close to Home offered a choice between these Blueberry Streusel Muffins and Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins. I thought the streusel muffins looked so delicious and different from the usual blueberry muffin. On top of that, I had just received a fresh harvest of blueberries in my CSA box—it was a happy coincidence that we would be making blueberry muffins for Barefoot Bloggers!

These muffins were easy and fun to make. McHubby even helped by scooping the batter into the muffin cups while I sprinkled on the streusel topping. The muffins are soft and moist while the buttery, crumbly streusel offers a sweet topping. They are delicious and great for a quick breakfast on the go or an afternoon snack.

Source: Blueberry Streusel Muffins, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk, shaken
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 extra-large eggs
2 cups fresh blueberries (2 half-pints)

For the Streusel Topping
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (½ stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in to a large bowl and blend with your hands. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, lemon zest, and eggs. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a fork, mixing just until blended. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Don’t overmix! With a standard (2 ¼″) ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared cups, filling them almost full.

For the topping, place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until the butter is in very small pieces. Pour into a bowl and rub with your fingers until crumbly. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the streusel on top of each muffin. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shrimp with Asian Eggplant

With this recipe, I was able to use both the Asian eggplants and the Thai basil I received in my CSA box this week. This was an eye-pleasing dish with vibrant colors and plump pink shrimp. Although the recipe calls for shrimp and scallops, I made mine with shrimp only, and it was delicious.

Shrimp and Scallops with Asian Eggplant, Gourmet, October 2000

2 scallions
½ lb large shrimp (about 12), shelled and deveined
½ lb sea scallops, tough muscles removed
3 ½ to 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (½-lb) Asian eggplant or small Italian eggplant, halved lengthwise and cut diagonally into ½-inch-thick slices
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon Asian chile paste
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon small fresh basil leaves

Cut scallion greens into 1-inch lengths, reserving white parts for another use.

Pat shellfish dry and season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 ½ tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then stir-fry eggplant with salt and pepper until golden brown on both sides and cooked through (add 1 ½ tablespoons more oil if eggplant is sticking to skillet). Transfer eggplant to a plate as cooked and keep warm, covered.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to skillet and sear shrimp and scallops in batches, without crowding, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to plate and keep warm, covered.

Add water, soy sauce, sugar, and chile paste to skillet and simmer, stirring, until reduced by half. Stir in lime juice.

Serve shellfish and eggplant with sauce, scallion greens, cilantro, and basil.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cucumber Kimchi

When I received a bunch of cucumbers in my CSA box this week, I wanted to make something different from a standard cucumber salad. This cucumber kimchi is one of my favorite Korean side dishes and can be made as mild or spicy as one likes. This is an easy recipe to follow, and the longer it has to marinate, the more flavorful the kimchi is!

4 Kirby cucumbers
4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper, ground

Slice cucumbers into thin slices, about ⅙ inch. Mix the cucumbers with the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


For our 4th of July cookout, we’re having sliders! For our mini burgers, we bought ground beef and ground lamb fresh from our local farmer’s market and set up a burger bar so that our guests can fix their sliders the way they like. We served these with grilled corn on the cob and herb butter. Happy Independence Day!

For beef sliders:
Sliders, Barefoot Contessa

2 pounds premium ground beef (80 percent lean and 20 percent fat)
1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces cheese (like Gruyere, Swiss, or Colby)
12 small slider buns or Brioche buns
4 ounces baby arugula
3 medium tomatoes, sliced in ⅛-inch-thick rounds
2 small red onions, sliced in ⅛-inch-thick rounds
Ketchup, for serving

Build a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill.

Place the ground beef in a large bowl and add the mustard, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to combine, taking care not to compress the ingredients. Shape the meat into 12 (2-inch) patties of equal size and thickness.

When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grate with oil to keep the sliders from sticking. Place the sliders on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the sliders over with a spatula and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes, until medium-rare, or cook longer if you prefer the sliders more well done. For the last 2 minutes of cooking time, place ½-ounce cheese on the top of each burger and close the grill lid. Remove the sliders to a platter and cover with foil.

Slice the buns in half crosswise and toast the halves cut side down on the grill.

Divide the baby arugula among the 12 bottom buns, top each with a slider, and finish with a slice of tomato and red onion. Cover with the top of the bun and serve hot with ketchup.

For lamb sliders:
1 pound ground lamb
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 slider buns or pita pockets
1 medium tomato, sliced in ⅛-inch-thick rounds
1 small red onion, sliced in ⅛-inch-thick rounds
Feta cheese (optional)
Tzatziki sauce (optional)

Build a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill.

Combine first 9 ingredients and gently mix together with a fork to combine. Shape the meat into 6 (2-inch) patties of equal size and thickness.

When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grate with oil to keep the sliders from sticking. Place the sliders on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the sliders to a platter and cover with foil.

Slice the buns in half crosswise and toast the halves cut side down on the grill.

Divide the baby arugula among the 12 bottom buns, top each with a slider, and finish with a slice of tomato, red onion, and feta. Cover with the top of the bun and serve hot with tzatziki sauce.