Friday, August 21, 2009

Cute as a Button

Last night, I hosted a little Project Runway Premiere gathering with some friends and co-workers. We had some good munchies and some good laughs. Check out what Em brought over! It is a giant Rice Krispie treat made in the shape of a button with a sewing needle. It's pretty fun being surrounded by creative people all of the time; never a dull moment.

"Make It Work."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Race for the Cookies

My friend, Elizabeth, made these adorable and hilarious cookies for brunch after the Race for the Cure a couple of weekends ago. A friend's mom is a Breast Cancer survivor and in celebration of her, we all joined a team to walk together. It was a gorgeous Sunday and we walked proud the whole 3.1 miles. It was inspiring and moving to see over 28,000 people participating in such a worthy cause. After all was said and done, the Kansas City event raised over 1.2 million dollars!

Here's to ta-tas everywhere!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dress It Up!

Since salads are on this summer's menu, here are a few recipes for homemade dressings that will dress up any bowl of ordinary greens. These fresh dressings will last up to about a week in your fridge. You can whisk to recombine before serving.

The image above is a great tool, Salad Chef, for making your own salad dressings. You pour all ingredients into the cruet and use the handy emulsifying mini whisk to combine the oil and vinegar. You can order it on Williams-Sonoma's website, here.
If you do not have one of these handy dandy tools, you can use a food processor or regular ol' blender.

Miso-Ginger Dressing
· 1/4 cup peanut oil
· 1/4 cup rice vinegar
· 3 tbsp. mild or sweet miso (yellow or white)
· 1 tbsp. dark sesame oil
· 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
· 1 inch long piece of fresh ginger, cut into thin coins
· salt and freshly ground pepper

·Put all ingredients except salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse a few times to mince carrots. The let the machine run for a minute or so until mixture is chunky-smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Avocado-Basil Dressing
· 1 avocado
· 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
· 1 clove garlic
· juice of one or more limes
· 1/4 cup olive oil
· salt and freshly ground pepper

· Put all ingredients in a mini food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add a few drops of water if needed to thin dressing out. Add salt and pepper to taste.

White Wine Vinaigrette
· 1/3 cup white wine
· 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
· 1 tsp. honey
· 1/4 tsp. kosher slat
· 1/4 tsp. black pepper
· 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

· In a medium bowl, whisk together the wine, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper.
Still whisking, slowly add the oil in a steady stream.

Greek Lemon Oregano Dressing
· 2 cloves garlic
· 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
· 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
· 1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
· 3/4 tsp. salt
· 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
· 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
· 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
· 1/4 cup finely chopped shalots or red onion

· In a food processor with metal blade attached, mince garlic. Add vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper. Process to combine. With the motor running slowly drizzle olive oil until dressing is emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in shallots before serving.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Summer of Salad

Lately, I cannot get enough salad! The warm summer weather keeps me out of the hot kitchen and craving all things fresh. The best part is you can get inventive and insanely creative with the combinations you come up with.

Out of 101 salad recipes that I found in Tony Cenicola's article on the New York Times website, I posted 20 of my favorites here. These salads are fast, delicious, and perfectly seasonal. Read through the list. I am sure you will be able to find a concoction that makes your mouth water.

Vegan Salads
1) Watermelon Tomato Salad:
Cube watermelon and combine with tomato chunks, basil and basic vinaigrette. You can substitute peach for the watermelon or the tomato (but not both, O.K.?). You can also add bacon or feta, but there goes the vegan-ness.

2) Fresh Off the Vine:
Mix wedges of tomatoes and peaches, add slivers of red onion, a few red-pepper flakes and cilantro. Dress with olive oil and lime or lemon juice.

3) Sweet Harvest Salad:
Grate carrots, toast some sunflower seeds, and toss with blueberries, olive oil, lemon juice and plenty of black pepper. Sweet, sour, crunchy, soft.

4) Boc Chewy:
Chop and steam baby or grown-up bok choy until crisp-tender, then shock it in ice water. Drain, then toss with halved cherry tomatoes, capers, olive oil and lemon juice.

Chickpea Tabbouleh:
Roughly chop cooked or canned chickpeas (you can pulse them, carefully, in a food processor) and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, lots of chopped fresh parsley and mint, and a few chopped tomatoes.

6) Italian Flag Salad:
Mix cooked cannellini or other white beans, chopped cherry or grape tomatoes and arugula or baby spinach. Lightly toast sliced garlic in olive oil with rosemary and red pepper flakes; cool slightly, add lemon zest or juice or both, then pour over beans.

7) Peanut Cole Slaw:
Shred Napa cabbage and radishes. The dressing is roasted peanuts, lime juice, peanut or other oil, cilantro and fresh or dried chili, all whizzed in a blender.

8) Mexi-cali Salad:
Combine chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, red onion, chilies and cilantro, then toss with corn tortilla strips, toasted in a 350-degree oven until crisp (or yes, use packaged chips; why not?). Dust with chili powder and lots of lime juice.

Salads with Cheese
9) Grilled Cheese Crouton Salad:
Make a crisp grilled cheese sandwich, with good bread and not too much good cheese. Let it cool, then cut into croutons. Put them on anything, but especially tomato and basil salad.

10) Red Pepper Caprese:
Slice roasted red peppers (if you must use canned, try to find piquillos) and fresh mozzarella. Toss with cooked white beans, olive oil, red wine vinegar, a chopped shallot and fresh rosemary or parsley.

11) Lox Salad:
Mix watercress with chopped smoked salmon, avocado, red onion and capers. Make a vinaigrette with olive oil, sherry vinegar and mustard powder.

Seafood Salads
12) Spicy Crab Salad:
Mix crab meat with pan-roasted corn, chopped avocado, halved cherry or grape tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice and perhaps a bit of cilantro and crumbled ancho chili.

13) Warm Shrimp Salad:
Stir-fry small or chopped shrimp in olive or peanut oil with lots of ginger; while still warm, combine with tomato wedges, chopped romaine, cilantro, scallions and lots of lime juice. Good in pita.

Salads with Meat
14) The Little Italy Salad:
Chop or julienne salami and prosciutto, then toss with cubed mozzarella, chopped tomato, pepperoncini, oil and wine vinegar.

15) Dressed Fig Salad:
Slice fresh figs and top with crumbled bacon, balsamic vinegar and crumbled blue cheese.

16) Philly Non-cheese Steak Salad:
Toss thinly sliced Vidalia or other sweet onions with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Sear a skirt steak and let sit a minute; slice it thin. Toss salad greens with the onions, roasted red peppers, and steak; add a little more oil and vinegar if necessary.

Noodle Salads
17) Cold Noodle Salad:
Combine about a half-cup peanut butter with a tablespoon soy sauce and enough coconut milk to make the mixture creamy (about a half cup), along with garlic and chili flakes in a blender or food processor. Toss sauce with cooked and cooled noodles, a load of mint, Thai basil, and/or cilantro, and lime juice. Shredded cucumber and carrots optional.

18) Warm Pasta Salad:
Toss cooked pasta with roasted red peppers, toasted walnuts, fresh goat cheese, basil and olive oil.

Whole Grain Salads
19) Cereal For Grown-ups:
Start with puffed brown rice; toss with chopped tomatoes, scallions, a minced chili, cooked or canned chickpeas and toasted unsweetened coconut. Dress with coconut milk and lime juice.

20) Sweet Grain Salad:
Mix cooked couscous or quinoa with orange zest and juice, olive oil, maybe honey, sliced oranges, raisins or dried cranberries, chopped red onion and chopped almonds. Serve over greens, or not.

Get in my Belly!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cucumber Salmon Boats

When trying to determine what to bring to a friend's poolside birthday party, I came across this recipe for Cucumber Salmon Boats in Shape magazine. The recipe ingredients seemed light and fresh- perfect for a warm summer night.

· one large orange
· 6 oz. smoked salmon (cut into 1/2-inch squares)
· 1 large tomato (diced)
· 2 green onions, thinly sliced
· 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
· 1 tbsp. olive oil
· 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
· 1/4 tsp. salt
· 8 kirby (or Persian) cucumbers, halved lengthwise and seeded
· 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

· Zest orange over bowl. Cut away rind and section over bowl- removing membranes and catching juices and sections into the bowl.
· Mix in salmon, tomato, onions, basil, oil, salt and pepper.
· Divide salmon mixture evenly among cucumber boats. Top each with a dollop of sour cream.

I found my small cucumbers at Costco. They came in a large bag, which was nice because I ended up making a larger batch. I halved them widthwise and lengthwise to get the boat shapes I wanted. These did not last long at the gathering. It was the perfect refreshing summer bite. The citrus broke down the saltiness of the salmon and the basil brightened up the dish.

yummy. yummy.