Romaine Greek Salad

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Romaine Greek Salad

romaine salad

chickpeas, washed and drained from a can

feta cheese

fresh tomatoes

cucumber

kalamata olives

sunflower seeds

lemon juice

olive oil

Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together to make the dressing.  I went 1/4 parts lemon juice 3/4 parts olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chop the tomatoes and add salt to help counteract their juiciness.  Let them dry a little on a towel.  Chop the cucumber.  Chop and pit the olives.

Place the romaine in a large salad bowl.  Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, and olives.  Crumble the feta cheese on top.  Sprinkle on the sunflower seeds.

Drizzle on the dressing and toss the salad.

 

Berry Crumble Muffins

In honor of the fourth, and summer in general, I made blueberry and strawberry crumble muffins!  I had to substitute skim milk with lemon for the buttermilk in the original recipe, but the end result was still great.  I think the key element is the lemon juice and lemon zest because it enhances the berries’ flavor and freshness.

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Berry Crumble Muffins (makes 12)

Crumble:

3/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon / pinch of salt

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

4 tablespoons salted melted butter

Combine all the ingredients together in a small bowl with a fork until a crumb forms.

Muffins:

2 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon/ pinch of salt

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 cup skim milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 cup salted melted butter

1- 1 1/4 cup strawberries and blueberries (the strawberries should be hulled and quartered)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a muffin tin.

Combine milk and lemon juice, let stand for at least 5 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium sized bowl.

Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Add the milk and lemon mixture.  Add in the sugars and mix until combined.  Add vanilla and lemon zest.  Mix in the butter.

Slowly add the dry ingredients.  Stir in the berries.

Scoop batter into muffin tin.  Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

 

Olive Romaine Salad

This is probably the easiest salad ever constructed.  Fresh chopped romaine with salty kalamata olives and a homemade dressing.  Whip it together in under 10 minutes for a light side and you will not be disappointed!

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Olive Romaine Salad

washed and chopped romaine

pitted and chopped kalamata olives

olive oil lemon dressing

Place the romaine and olives in a large salad bowl.  Toss with dressing.

Olive Oil Lemon Dressing

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2-2/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together all the ingredients.  Can be stored in the refrigerator if you do not use it all.

Creamy Grilled Corn

This side dish was inspired from traditional Mexican street corn, but I substituted many of the ingredients for what I had in my cupboard. A great accompaniment to burgers and dogs, it will be sure to grace the table at countless cookouts.  My sister claims it is her new favorite dish!  Grilling the corn is really easy, just brush it with olive oil and place on the outside sections of the grill until it is cooked through.

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Creamy Grilled Corn (serves 4-6 as a side)

4 ears of grilled corn

salt and pepper

olive oil

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

2.5 limes juiced

zest of one lime

red pepper chili flakes to taste (I used 1/2 tsp)

2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Remove the corn kernels with a sharp knife.

Pour olive oil in a pan on medium/ high heat.  Put corn in pan.  Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Cook until everything is heated and serve hot.

 

Sesame Peanut Noodles

This pasta dish is adapted from Nigella and is perfect for summer weather.  The fresh peas, hearty whole wheat pasta, and creamy peanut butter work well together and make a healthy, yet satisfying meal.  The longest time taking element is boiling the water for the pasta!  Serve it as a main course or side dish for cookouts.

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Sesame Peanut Noodles (makes 1 lb pasta)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/2 tsp red pepper chili flakes

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

1/2 cup pasta water reserved when draining

lb. whole wheat pasta

2 cups sweet peas, washed and ends trimmed

Boil and cook pasta according to directions on the box.  When draining, save 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

As pasta is draining, whisk together all the over ingredients to make the sauce in a bowl (not peas).

Place the peas and pasta in a large bowl.  Pour dressing on top and mix thoroughly.  I served this at room temperature and chilled.  Both tasted delicious!

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Grilled Chicken with Peanut Butter Sauce

This is one of my all time favorite chicken meals.  The recipe is from Hurricane Restaurant which is located in Kennebunkport, ME.  The marinade and peanut sauce are both easy to make, but the depth of flavor would never suggest that!  I am going to apologize in advance for the lack luster photographs… I was just so excited to dig in that I lost all patience.

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Grilled Chicken with Peanut Butter Sauce (serves 7-8)

Chicken:

1 cup lemon juice

1 cup soy sauce

6 tablespoons chopped garlic

3 lbs chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients.  Place chicken in the marinade.  Let it sit for as long as possible so the flavors meld together.

Char-grill until done.  Serve alongside the sauce.

Sauce:

12 tablespoons peanut butter

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/4 tablespoon crushed red pepper

6 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 cup heavy cream

Mix the butter, peanut butter, and red pepper in a saucepan over low heat until melted.  Mix all the rest of the other ingredients together.  Slowly stream into peanut butter mixture.  Keep at low heat until everything is warm.

You can add more sugar or crushed red pepper depending on the level of heat you prefer.  If you put the chicken on skewers instead of leaving the breasts whole this is an excellent side dish.

 

 

Asian Inspired Shrimp and Scallop Pasta

This seafood dish will add some variation to your life when compared to the traditional tomato sauce over spaghetti.  The fresh citrus, salty soy sauce, and honey create a deep flavor that is unmatched, and pairs perfectly with shellfish.  Light and delicate it will not make you feel the least bit heavy after eating it.  Experiment with whatever fresh seafood you have.  I particularly like the bay scallops because of their subtle sweetness.  I have also used salmon, which works as well.  Bobby Flay is the creator of this recipe I just prepare it a little differently.

unnamedAsian Inspired Shrimp and Scallop Pasta (serves 4)

1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 limes, juiced

6 teaspoons honey

2 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, finely grated

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup canola oil, divided

2/3 lb pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 lb bay scallops

1-3 tablespoons butter

1 lb thin spaghetti (or angel hair pasta)

Place a couple tablespoons of butter in a pan at high heat.  Place the scallops in the pan.  Sear on both sides to get some crispiness. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the scallops get golden brown all over (probably around 10-15 minutes).

Boil pot of water.  Put in pasta and cook according to directions.

Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, honey, ginger, garlic, and canola oil in a large bowl.

Place tablespoon of butter in large skillet/ pan at medium/ high heat.  Pour in the marinade.  Add the shrimp and cook on one side until that side gets pink.  Then flip to cook the other side until it gets pink.

Add in the cooked scallops.  Place the pasta in bowls.  Top with seafood.  Then pour some extra sauce over on top.  Then feast!

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries and Oranges

I always forget how delicious and satisfying chocolate dipped fruit is.  Perhaps because when I hear the word “fruit” linked with a dessert I am led to believe that it is healthy and not decadent.  However, these strawberries and oranges were amazing and satisfied my chocolate craving completely.  You can use any tip of fruit you like, but I especially love the orange and chocolate combo.  I then had a lot of fresh strawberries in the fridge, so I decided to use those as well.  Make this for Valentine’s Day coming up or any night of the week because it is so easy!

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Chocolate Dipped Strawberries and Oranges

1 1/2 bags of semisweet chocolate

1 orange, peeled and separate into slices

~30 strawberries

salt for sprinkling on top

Place the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave with 30 second intervals until it is all melted.

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Place parchment paper on a sheet tray.  Dip the fruit in the chocolate and place on the parchment paper.  Sprinkle with salt.  Place in the fridge until the chocolate is set.  Then eat your way into chocolate fruity heaven.

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Zesty Citrus Cookies

These cookies will brighten up your day and make you think that spring is coming soon!  The cookie is a shortbread base from Ina, but I added orange, lemon, and lime zest.  The glaze is just a simple concoction containing confectioners sugar and juice from those same fruits.  If you like sour and sweet combos then this is the dessert for you.  Feel free to experiment with the flavors as well.  You could make a vanilla glaze with a vanilla cookie.  A lemon glaze with a rosemary cookie. Etc… Have fun with it and enjoy!

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Shortbread Cookie (makes around 40 cookies)

3/4 pound salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest from one lemon, one orange, and one lime

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined with an electric mixer.

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Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt.  Then add that to the creamed mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to form little clumps.  Shape dough into a disk and cover with plastic wrap.  Put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

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See how pretty the different colored zest looks?!

Roll out the dough to around 1/2 in. thick.  then use cookie cutters to make whatever shapes you desire. Putting flour on your rolling pin and cookie cutters will make this process easier!  Place on a sheet tray with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Take the cookies out when the edges are slightly brown.  Glaze the cookies right when they come out.  Let them cool.  Then glaze them a second time to finish.

Cookie Glaze 

1 box of confectioners sugar

juice of one lemon

juice of one lime

juice of half an orange

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Place the confectioners sugar in a bowl.  Juice all the fruits in a separate bowl and make sure there are no seeds!  Slowly add the juice to the sugar and mix until there are no lumps and everything is incorporated.  It should be slightly runny.  Then dip your cookies twice and you are ready to eat!

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