July 20, 2011

Grilled Peaches

  • 2 ripe peaches, halved with pits removed
  • ½ cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup Balsamic Reduction*
  • 4 fresh sprigs of mint
  1. Oil the grate (grill) and heat on med-high. When the grill is nice and hot, grill each half of the peach for 4-5 minutes per side.
  2. Set the peaches on a plate with cut side facing up. Place a dollop of fresh ricotta in the center of each peach half and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.
  3. Garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy!

*Balsamic Brown Sugar Reduction Recipe
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup of packed brown sugar
  1. Cook the vinegar/brown sugar mixture down on med-high heat until it is reduced by half, approximately 3 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.
Recipe from Savory Sweet Life
This paired nicely with Keswick Vineyard's 2009 Nektar

**I used a whole peach per person

Shrimp & Scallops Provencal

No need to explain further!
Recipe from Ina Garten
Made by Michelle and myself
Wine pairing suggestion: a nice, buttery, oaky Chardonnay

  • 1 pound fresh bay or sea scallops
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • ½ cup chopped shallots (2 large)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, cut in half

  1. If using bay scallops, keep them whole. If using sea scallops, cut each one in half horizontally. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the shrimp and scallops in one layer.
  3. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on one side without moving them, then turn and brown lightly on the other side. This should take 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic, and parsley and sauté for 2 more minutes, tossing the seasonings with the shrimp and scallops. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Baked Brie Bundles

Another simple, yet delicious appetizer, made by Michelle and myself.

  • Phyllo dough
  • Brie
  • Cooking Spray
  • Raspberry Jam
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Take a few layers of phyllo dough and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Spoon brie into the middle of the dough and gather all edges into a bundle.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to sit about 5-10 minutes before serving.
  5. To serve, spoon raspberry jam on top and enjoy the cheesy goodness :)

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Wow! I didn't like mushrooms... until I tried this appetizer! It is loaded with flavor and so easy to make.

  • 1 cup crabmeat
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan
  • Old Bay Seasoning, to taste
  • 10 white mushrooms caps
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • Nonstick cooking spray

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the crabmeat, cream cheese, parsley, green onions and Parmesan. Season with Old Bay.
  3. Stuff the mushroom caps with the mixture and top with bread crumbs. Spray the tops with nonstick spray to help them brown.
  4. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is hot and melted.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Recipe from Paula Deen
**I doubled this recipe for 6 people

July 18, 2011

BLT Pasta

BLT (Bacon, Linguine, Tomato) all made in one pot! Makes for easy clean up! I originally found this recipe on Williams-Sonoma's page. It won the "Easy Weeknight Meal" contest and I can definitely see why! I modified the recipe a little, so my version is below. Here is the original.

  • 1 package of bacon (about 12 slices), divided
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2-14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 12 oz uncooked whole grain linguine pasta
  • 1 cup basil, chopped
  • 4 oz neufchatel cheese
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Grape tomatoes, halved

  1. Slice the bacon cross wise into strips. Cook in a large pot on medium heat for 8-9 minutes, or until crisp. (Your house will smell wonderful.) Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Drain pot, leaving 1 tbsp of bacon grease in the bottom.
  2. Place broth and diced tomatoes into the pot. Increase heat to high and add onion, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Once almost at a boil, add pasta and half of the cooked bacon. Simmer uncovered for 9-10 minutes or until pasta is almost cooked by still firm. Stir occasionally.
  3. Remove pot from heat and add cubed neufchatel cheese, grape tomatoes and basil, reserving 1 tbsp of basil for garnish.
  4. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes or until pasta is tender and sauce is thickened. Serve with remaining bacon, grated Parmesan cheese and reserved basil.

This makes about 6 servings, but I will caution you- your guests may go back for seconds! Enjoy!

July 11, 2011

Confetti Couscous Salad

This recipe is one of Emily's that we made together. While eating, we also thought of other items that would be good in addition to or as substitutions: Mangoes, Red onion, Strawberries.

  • 3 cups whole grain Israeli or Moroccan couscous (cooked according to package directions)
  • 1 medium red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries and/or golden raisins
  • 2 T fresh cilantro
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup bottled poppy seed dressing
  • ½ tsp finely shredded lime peel
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 8 cups spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup toasted, slivered almonds

  1. In large bowl, combine cooked couscous, pepper, dried fruit, cilantro and green onion.
  2. In small bowl combine dressing, lime peel, and hot sauce.
  3. Stir half the dressing into the couscous mixture, Cover and chill couscous mixture and remaining dressing for 1 to 4 hours.
  4. To serve, combine salad greens and almonds in a large bowl. Pour remaining dressing over greens, toss to coat.
  5. Divide greens onto plates and spoon couscous mixture on top.

Summer Slush

This recipe is from my cousin, Emily. It is prefect for the pool :)

  • One 12-ounce frozen OJ
  • One 6-ounce frozen lemonade
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup strong cold tea (1 cup water, 3 tea bags)
  • 1 ½ - 2 cups orange vodka (or whiskey or rum)
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • Sprite

Mix all ingredients (except the Sprite); freeze overnight.
Fill glass ¾ full and add Sprite.