Basil Gazpacho with Homemade Crunchy Croutons

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This is  Helen’s Basil Gazpacho and Crunchy Crouton recipe and it is worth the trouble!  I am not saying you will need to grow your veggies in a garden like Helen’s –  see below – but according to Helen “If you want something good then you have to go to a lot of trouble and that’s just the way it is.”  Helen is an extraordinary cook, gardener, knitter and friend.  Thank you for doing this post with me Helen – now I have one of my favorite Helen creations down on the books.

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The reason you want the croutons to get extra crispy is so they stay crispy once they are put in the Gazpacho. This is the best Gazpacho so get ready!  Helen says “god help you if there are any leftover croutons because you will just sit there eating them.” It is SO true.

INGREDIENTS for Crunchy Croutons

1 day old free form loaf or baguette

3 – 6 T each – butter & olive oil,  – adjust amount depending on the size of the loaf.

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garlic powder

onion powder

dried parsley

OR

use Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning as an alternative to the individual seasonings

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to Bake  300°
  2. Cut bread into 1 inch cubes
  3. Bake for 1 hour
  4. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet on Medium, add toasted bread and toss until well coated in oil and butter
  5. Turn heat to low, add spices and toss
  6. Remove from heat and set aside

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INGREDIENTS for Basil Gazpacho

Serves 4 – 6

INGREDIENTS

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and chopped

4 large or 6 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped with juice

2 garlic cloves minced

1 4 oz jar of pimento, drained

3 cup of vegetable stock

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 c white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

4 tablespoons basil, chopped

  1. Skin tomatoes: submerge tomatoes in hot water for 2 minutes, until skin cracks easily.  Cool and peel.
  2. Chop all the veggies and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add other ingredients and spices.
  4. Blend ingredients with a hand blender (or use a food processor) until you reach the right consistency.
  5. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
  6. Garnish with herbs and Crunchy Croutons and serve chilled.

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Blueberry-Orange Sour Cream Muffins

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Welcome to my latest creation. My daughters are crazy for baked goods so this summer we are trying some new recipes.  The blueberries are so beautiful right now and bursting with flavor.  The topping is crumbly and makes these muffins a bit irresistible.  My first thought this morning was “maybe I should have one for breakfast.” Yumm….

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First make the topping and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

MUFFIN TOPPING

Makes topping for 18 – 24 muffins

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup light brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed

1 teaspoon cinnamon

PREPARATION

  1. Cube butter and allow it to reach room temperature
  2. Combine ingredients in a bowl
  3. Use your fingers or a fork to mix ingredients to form coarse crumbles


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MUFFINS

Makes 18 – 24 muffins

INGREDIENTS

3 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 cups sour cream

2 teaspoons orange extract

1 teaspoon vanilla

Zest 1 large orange or 2 small oranges

2 cup fresh blueberries

PREPARATION

  1. Heat the oven to  375°. Butter muffin pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the 3 cups of flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, wisk the egg until frothy. Add the sugar and melted butter and beat until pale yellow, 1 minute. Beat in the sour cream, orange extract, vanilla and orange zest until blended.
  4. Add the blueberries  to your dry ingredients and toss. Using a wooden spoon, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Do not over mix – batter should be lumpy.
  5. Fill the muffin cups three-fourths full of batter and sprinkle with the topping. Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when placed in the center of a mufffin. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a rack.

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Blackened Salmon on Linguine

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The wild Sockeye Salmon is a wonderful and rare indulgence in our home.   We splurge on salmon only every now and then and when we do the family is happy! It is as if I can see all the nutrients, proteins and omega 3 oils come to life in front of my very eyes as my children seem to hone super powers after a meal like this. Salmon is a great choice when choosing seafood because it not only has great flavor and can be cooked in a variety of ways but it is also rich with Omega-3 fatty acids, making it one of the healthiest fish to eat.    The linguine has a Parmesan cream sauce drizzled on it and the spinach was cooked in a hot iron skillet for only a couple of minutes without oil or butter. This is a rich and delicious meal and should definitely be paired with a good bottle of wine.  I also served a whole wheat baguette (a post for another time)  fresh out of the oven that we pulled apart with our hands  – great for picking up the last of the cream sauce. I hope you enjoy.

By the way this is the second post using seafood since the beginning of nu-trio.  I am anxious to talk about the issues and our impact as consumers.  I don’t want to be preachy so please feel free to  proceed to our Earth page if you share an interest on the topics of fish farming, over fishing and our ability to make a difference.

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INGREDIENTS – Blackened Sockeye Salmon

Serves two

6 ounces of linguine

1 bag of baby spinach

2, 5 ounce salmon filets

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olive oil

lemon juice

balsamic glaze

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INGREDIENTS – Parmesan Cream Sauce

¾ stick of butter

8 ounces heavy whipping cream

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

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SALMON PREP and STEPS

  1. Marinate the filets in salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic glaze.  Refrigerate until you are ready to cook.
  2. Prep ingredients for cream sauce
  3. Cook pasta, toss with a little olive oil, cover and set aside
  4. Heat an iron skillet on med-high until the pan begins to smoke.  Pour a small amount of olive oil onto the skillet before you place your filets skin side down and do not touch them for about 90 seconds
  5. Flip the fish onto the side with the marinade and then use your spatula to peel the skin from the filet.  It should peel right off. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a little balsamic glaze.
  6. Allow it to cook for approximately 3 minutes before flipping – do not touch the fish while it cooks. Flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes.  Cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of the filet. Take a paring knife to cut a small incision into the thickest part of the filet to determine whether it is cooked enough for your taste. wrap in foil and place in warm oven until you are ready to serve.
  7. Wipe iron skillet with a paper towel add spinach to seasoned pan on med-high and toss until wilted. 2-3 minutes. Leave in pan to keep warm but remove from heat.
  8. Prepare Parmesan Cream Sauce (cook time is 10-15 minutes):
  • melt butter and cream in a sauce pan on med-high
  • stir constantly
  • cook at a simmer for approx. 6 – 8 minutes until visibly thicker
  • add cheese and lower heat
  • stir until cheese is melted

9. Serve filet on a bed of pasta and spinach, drizzle sauce, garnish with paprika and enjoy!



Tacos

The taco is a  delicious creation in which the eater is able to design a new masterpiece with each tortilla. Really…building a taco is just good fun. On tap tonight; a meatless taco, made with Morningstar Crumbles, topped with all the good stuff.  Super easy to throw together and you can use any filling that sounds tasty – try grilled shrimp, ground beef, or tofu.
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TACOS

makes 8 tacos

INGREDIENTS

1 bag of Morningstar Crumbles

1 avocado diced

1 tomato diced

1/2 cup red onion diced

10 sprigs of cilantro

1/2 cup  cheddar cheese shredded

1/2 cup sour cream

1 lime cut into wedges

flour or corn tortillas

hot sauce

PREPARATION

Prepare your toppings

Cook your filling

Heat tortillas  – I use tongs and heat mine over the flame of my stove top

Build a taco and enjoy!

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Quiche Muffins

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Want to make your family smile with a gourmet breakfast that couldn’t be easier? Try these yummy savory muffins. I used to eat these for breakfast a few times a week when I worked across the street from the Millstone Bakery, a nook reeking of roasted coffee, sweet breads and other gourmet manifestations .  I loved this place and was sad the day Millstone closed.  However, they printed and shared their recipies with all of their faithful customers who came in for some irresistable goods on the last day of business.  How thoughtful – thank you Millstone!  I have changed the recipie a bit and remember – this is a quiche so you can add other veggies, cheeses, or herbs.

QUICHE MUFFINS

makes 2 dozen

INGREDIENTS

3 cups of half and half

6 eggs

1/2 minced onion or shallots

1 cup (drained) chopped spinach

8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tsp salt

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350.  Wisk first 5 ingredients. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt.  Pour into greased muffin pans (almost to the top). Bake 25 minutes until light browning on top. Wait 5 minutes before removing from muffin pans.

First 5 ingredients

first five ingredients

Plated with Fruit Salad and Avocado

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Summer Raspberry Cream Cake

         Summer Raspberry Cream Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing – Yes please!

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When my friend invited me to watch her put together her summer time cake and take the recipe with me for my blog I was really excited.  Heather is a stay at home mama with three in her brood. She also has a wonderful story of childhood that helps one understand why Heather cares so much about preparing natural, wholesome, and delicious foods, from scratch.  Heather was raised in Papua New Guinea, in a tribal village. Her parents were missionaries and she was there between the ages of 2 and 11. Heather watched closely as her Mom grew and prepared everything by hand. She learned skills as well as a philosophy on preparing food that she carries with her today. She cares very much about the origin of the products she buys and makes efforts to use local and natural ingredients. Heather makes foods like yogurt, jams, and breads. She has a vegetable garden, she enjoys knitting beautiful accessories for her little girls, and she loves to bake. She invited me over to watch her put together this summer time cake; as well as enjoy a piece with a lovely cup of Earl Grey Tea. I highly recommend trying this combination – it is so delicious. Thanks for sharing this, Heather.

Just a couple of things about the recipe I should mention is that in developing these recipes, Heather was trying to achieve a creamier frosting with less powdered sugar – as many recipes call for – so after years of altering her favorite recipes Heather has reduced the butter and created a lighter meringue to incorporate into the icing and therefore was also able to reduce the amount of sugar. She also chose recipes based on the number of egg yolk vs. egg whites for the frosting so there would be no waste.  So together, these recipes for cake, filling and icing will produce a creamy, light and fluffy, perfectly sweetened cake. Some things you will need: electric mixer, two  9 inch cake pans, long bread knife, food thermometer, and a cooling rack.

INGREDIENTS for YElLOW CAKE

3 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

 2 sticks + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temp

1 1/2 cup sugar

4 lg egg yolks + 1 egg – separate and reserve 4 whites for the icing

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

PREPARATION for YELLOW CAKE

1.  Heat oven to 350°, place to racks in the center of oven. grease two 9 inch cake pans with butter. Dust with flour. Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

2. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, gradually add sugar. Keep beating until light and fluffy – 3 minutes. Drizzle in egg yolks,beating on med – low until fluffy.

3. Alternate adding flour mixture and sour cream to butter mixture, ending with flour mix. Beat in vanilla, divide between pans. Bake 30 – 40 minutes – until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 min then remove from pan, cool on wire racks.  Score the cakes before slicing – this will help you slice it through the center. Please click here to see Heather’s demonstration. Split layers horizontally using a bread knife. Set aside the prettiest dome for the top. Assemble. Refrigerate if necessary (due to the whip cream filling it is best to keep this cake in a cool place).

 INGREDIENTS for RASPBERRY and CREAM FILLING

  12 – 14 oz of raspberry jam

1 1/2 cup whipping cream – will yield about 4 cups

1 1/2 tablespoon of powdered sugar

PREPARATION for RASPBERRY and CREAM FILLING

1. Whip cream, adding the powdered sugar during the whipping process.

2. This filling will be divided among the three layers.  Spread the jam over the top of your bottom layer, then spread your whip cream over the jam, leaving a 1 inch border. Place the next layer of cake and gently press from the center of the cake to help distribute the cream.  However, do not over do it, the weight of the cake will spread the cream to the edge of the layer as the cake settles.

 INGREDIENTS for SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM ICING

4 lg egg whites

2 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup sugar

2 sticks butter unsalted

PREPARATION for SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM ICING

1. Combine egg whites, water, cream of tartar and sugar in a bowl. Set bowl in skillet with simmering water. Beat on low until whites reach 140°. Beat on high until 160°. 2-4 min. Remove bowl from heat add 1 tsp vanilla. Beat on high 3 – 5 min to cool and until meringue holds glossy stiff peaks.

2. In a separate bowl beat unsalted butter to cream. Fold large dollop of meringue into batter.  Continue to fold in meringue in stages.

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Spicy Thai Noodles

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The aroma from this sauce will dance off your stove and have your family investigating the peanutty, sweet smells.  ‘What’s for dinner?‘ is a typical response.  Compliments of The Grit! – an amazing vegetarian fare restaurant in the hip downtown of Athens, GA- these Spicy Thai Noodles are one of my favorite recipes from their cookbook.  My friend, Helen, introduced me to this place a few years ago and it is the kind of food that I sit around all day dreaming about.  Their Thai Noodle Bowl – ‘special of the day’ – had me talking about it for weeks! The list of vegetarian options at The Grit are endless, and each one is mouth-watering good.

I love to make these Noodles for parties – always a crowd pleaser!  Also, it makes the best leftovers in the world and your kids will love them too.

I added a couple of carrots, sliced julienne. I love the color and it compliments the dish well. Also I want to mention that this recipe is not very spicy – my kids love it just like this – but if it were up to me I would add more chili paste, or oil, to turn up the heat on this dish because I love spicy!

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

12 ounces of slender pasta

4 quarts of water

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup honey

2 teaspoons chili paste or 1/2 teaspooon chili oil

2 teaspoons granulated garlic, or fresh

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 lime – freshly squeezed

5 green onions

1 cup of snow peas or 1 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 carrots julienne

1/2 cup slivered almonds

PREPARATION

Combine water and salt in a large stock pot and bring to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain thoroughly in a large colander, rinse with cool water and drain again; set aside.

Combine all other ingredients except green onions, peas, carrots and almonds in a saucepan and stir well over high heat until gently boiling. Remove from heat. Toss noodles and sauce in a large bowl. Allow to cool slightly. Toss with remaining ingredients cover and refrigerate. Serve well-chilled.

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