Sunday, May 31, 2009

Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone Cheese


Olive oil
3 firm but ripe peaches, pitted, quartered
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup dry white wine


Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Lightly brush the grill pan or rack with oil. Place the peaches on the grill pan and do not move the peaches, otherwise you will not have those great grill marks. It takes about 2 to 3 minutes per side to get those grill marks. Grill the peaches until the grill marks are formed, slightly softened and heated through, about 5 to 6 minutes total.

Meanwhile, stir the sugar, brandy, and lemon juice in a medium bowl to blend. Set the brandy mixture aside.

As the peaches are ready, remove them from the grill and place them in a shallow baking dish. Top them with the brandy mixture, and toss to coat. Set aside for 15 minutes and allow to marinate, tossing occasionally.

Meanwhile, stir the mascarpone and vanilla in a small bowl to blend.

Divide the grilled peach mixture equally among 6 coupe dishes. Pour the wine over the peaches. Dollop the mascarpone mixture atop the peaches, and serve.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fried Ravioli

Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 to 6 servings


Olive oil, for frying
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups Italian-style bread crumbs
1 box store-bought cheese ravioli (about 24 ravioli)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 jar store bought marinara sauce, heated, for dipping


Pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F.

While the oil is heating, put the buttermilk and the bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Working in batches, dip ravioli in buttermilk to coat completely. Allow the excess buttermilk to drip back into the bowl. Dredge ravioli in the bread crumbs. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet, and continue with the remaining ravioli.

When the oil is hot, fry the ravioli in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain.

Sprinkle the fried ravioli with Parmesan and serve with a bowl of warmed marinara sauce for dipping.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella

Cook Time: 10 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing grill pan
4 large portobello mushrooms (about 5 inches in diameter), stemmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 small to medium sized vine ripened tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella, drained, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves


Prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat).

Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil over both sides of the mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil on grill pan to prevent mushrooms from sticking. Grill until the mushrooms are heated through and tender, about 5 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, whisk the extra-virgin olive oil and garlic in a medium bowl to blend. Add the tomatoes, cheese, and basil and toss to coat. Season the tomato salad, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Place 1 hot grilled mushroom gill side up on each of 4 plates. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Spoon the tomato salad atop the mushrooms, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to finish, about 1 tablespoon and serve.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rib-Eye Steak with Black Olive Vinaigrette

Cook Time: 20 min
Yield: 2 to 4 servings


Rib-eye Steak:

1 2-inch rib-eye steak, boneless
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Black Olive Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup black olives, pitted
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


For the Rib-eye: Preheat your grill pan on medium high heat. Coat the beef with olive oil and sprinkle with the Herbs de Provence, salt, and pepper. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes a side until the meat is medium-rare, remove from heat, and allow to rest.

For the Black Olive Vinaigrette: Combine the olives, red wine vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until mixed. In a small pitcher combine the olive oil and vegetable oil. Drizzle the oil into the blender with the machine running. Transfer the vinaigrette to a serving dish. Stir in the parsley and serve with the rib-eye.


Panettone French Toast

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 6 servings


Cinnamon Syrup:

1 cup water
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

French Toast:

1 (1.1 pound; 500 gram) loaf panettone bread, baking paper removed
6 large eggs
3/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
Powdered sugar, for dusting


To make the syrup: Combine 1 cup of water and brown sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil until the syrup reduces to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and cinnamon. Keep the syrup warm. (The syrup can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Reheat before serving.

Meanwhile, prepare the French toast: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Trim the bottom crust of the panettone. Starting at the bottom end of the panettone, cut it crosswise into 6 (3/4-inch thick) round slices (reserve the top piece for toast!). In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. Add the cream, milk, and sugar and whisk until well mixed. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on a large nonstick griddle over medium heat. Dip 3 slices of panettone into the custard, turning to allow both sides to absorb the custard. Grill the soaked panettone slices until they are golden brown and firm to the touch, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the French toast to a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining butter, panettone slices, and custard.

Transfer the French toast to plates. Dollop the mascarpone atop each. Lightly dust with the powdered sugar. Drizzle the cinnamon syrup over and around the French toast and serve immediately.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Creamy Orzo

Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 6 to 8 servings


* 1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large shallot, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, juices drained
* 1 1/4 cups whipping cream
* 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
* 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bring a heavy large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite,
stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat.
Add the shallot and garlic, and saute until tender, about 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook until they are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir
in the cream and peas. Add the orzo and toss to coat. Remove the
skillet from the heat. Add the Parmesan to the pasta mixture and toss
to coat. Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta
thickly, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy
consistency. Season the orzo with salt and pepper, and serve.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Salmon with Puff Pastry and Pesto

A great recipe for people in a hurry!

Cook Time: 10 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


4 pieces of purchased puff pastry, each cut to be just larger than a piece of salmon
4 (4 to 6-ounce) pieces salmon
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup purchased pesto
2 tomatoes, sliced


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

On a foil-lined baking sheet, place the 4 pieces of puff pastry. Also place the 4 pieces of salmon, being careful to make sure they are not touching. Sprinkle each piece of salmon with 1 tablespoon of the sliced almonds. Bake for 10 minutes.

To serve, place each piece of puff pastry on a plate. Top each puff pastry with 1 tablespoon of pesto. Top the pesto with 2 slices of tomatoes each. Top the tomatoes with the salmon and serve.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Orange and Nut Squares

Cook Time: 30 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 12 bars or squares


1 package store bought sugar cookie dough
1 cup orange marmalade
1 1/2 cups assorted nuts, toasted and chopped (try hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the cookie dough out on a cookie sheet to 1/4-inch thickness (about 9 inches by 12 inches) using your fingertips. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool.

Spread the marmalade over the cookie. Sprinkle with nuts.

In a double boiler over very lightly simmering water, melt the chocolate. Dip a spoon in the melted chocolate and drizzle on top of the cookie. Let cool. Cut the cookie into 12 bars or squares. Serve or store in an airtight container.