One woman's foray into cooking for herself, for her family, and for her friends. It's not always picture-perfect, sometimes a little messy,
but it's always delicious. Join me in exploring new recipes, savoring the "résultats" and learning from the "erreurs".

Friday, May 21, 2010

Saturday Blog Showcase #20 - Gazpacho

It's Week #20 for Saturday Blog Showcase.  Join Ann (Thibeault's Table) and me in featuring recipes from our fellow bloggers.  Look at the bottom of this post for guidelines to join in on the fun!

This week, I visited Budget Bytes, a wonderful blog devoted to eating well without breaking the family budget.  Beth's recipes are broken down cost-wise and into easy-to-follow steps.  Her gazpacho looked delicious and I was not disappointed.  Even using canned crushed tomatoes, the tomatillos, fresh cilantro and parsley, and fresh lime juice really brightened the flavor.   It was so easy to put together after work - a slight bit of chopping and blitz the rest in the blender.  A wonderful cold soup as the Texas temperatures start creeping upwards.  Thank you, Beth!

Summer Gazpacho

1 (28-ounces) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups vegetable juice (like V8)
1 small yellow onion
1 large cucumber
2 small tomatillos
1/4 bunch Italian parsley
1/4 bunch cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium lime, juiced
1 medium avocado

Wash, seed and finely dice the cucumber, tomatillo and yellow onion. Split the chopped veggies into two bowls. Half will be pureed with the other soup ingredients and the other half will be added at the end for texture.

In a blender combine the crushed tomatoes, half of the chopped veggies, the minced garlic, parsley, cilantro, olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper and half of the V8. If all of the V8 will fit in your blender, go ahead and add all of it but don't let the liquid exceed 3/4 of the blender's volume. Puree these ingredients on a fairly low setting until almost smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.

Pour the contents of the blender into a bowl and stir in the remaining chopped veggies and remaining V8 juice. Dice the avocado and either sprinkle on just before serving or stir into the soup. If you stir it in, the acid from the tomatoes and lemon will keep it from browning. Let the soup chill for at least 30 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve cold!

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To participate in Saturday Blog Showcase:

1.Make a recipe from a fellow blogger's website and share the recipe on your blog with a link back to the blog where you found the recipe.

2.Add the Saturday Blog Showcase logo to your post.

3.On Friday night or Saturday, link your post to Mr. Linky:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Saturday Blog Showcase #18 - Avocado & Mango Tower with Grilled Scallops

It's the eighteenth edition of Saturday Blog Showcase - my, how time has flown!  Join Ann (Thibeault's Table) and me in showcasing our fellow bloggers and their wonderful culinary creations.  Check at the bottom of this post to find out how you can join in the fun!

This week, my blog pick of the week is The Catty Life.  Her charming wit, stunning photography and delicious-looking food has me visiting her site often.   Her Avocado & Mango Tower with Grilled Scallops definitely caught my eye.  It's beautiful, delicious and quick - the perfect combination for Friday night after work.

Following TCL's directions (and improvising just a tad on my own), it was just a matter of a little dicing some avocado (which I mixed with a small glug of olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a bit of cilantro), and layering that in the bottom of a ring mold, dicing some mango (which I mixed with about 1/8 teaspoon of minced red chili), then layered that over the avocado.  While the avocado and mango were setting up in the mold, I salted and peppered some scallops and pan-seared them until they had a nice golden crust on each side, about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side.  The sweet scallops and the buttery and not-too-sweet mango and avocado combination was amazing.  You don't have to be as fussy as layering the mango and avocado - a nice salsa made of the same ingredients makes for a nice bed to beautifully-browned scallops.  Thank you to The Catty Life!

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To participate in Saturday Blog Showcase:

1.Make a recipe from a fellow blogger's website and share the recipe on your blog with a link back to the blog where you found the recipe.

2.Add the Saturday Blog Showcase logo to your post.

3.On Friday night or Saturday, link your post to Mr. Linky:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Roast Chicken & Basil Smashed Potatoes

Sunday afternoon.  The morning cloudiness and drizzle cleared and it's turned out to be a beautiful day. And the perfect Sunday evening meal is a roast chicken dinner.  I prefer the high heat method of roasting.  The chicken always turns out juicy and tender. 

Of course, potatoes and gravy are a must when roasting a chicken.  I had some red potatoes I quartered and boiled with a couple of cloves of garlic.  When the potatoes were cooked, I drained them, smashed them with milk and butter, salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper, then stirred in a handful of chopped fresh basil. Delicious!  And plenty of leftovers for tomorrow.  Yay!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday Blog Showcase #17 - Strawberry Crepes

Another week has gone by and Saturday Blog Showcase is upon us yet again!  Thanks to Ann (Thibeault's Table) for hosting this week!  Join us in preparing recipes from our fellow bloggers.  It gives us the opportunity to meet new folks and revisit others!

Today I made a simple recipe of crepes with macerated strawberries from In Erika's Kitchen.  Erika has a wonderful way of writing, beautiful photographs - a great read!

It's not quite peak strawberry season here yet, so my strawberries were a little tarter than I'd hoped they would be.  A little extra sugar took care of that.  The crepes were light and flavorful, the perfect foil for these pretty berries.  This made for a special Saturday breakfast - thank you, Erika!

Strawberry crepes

  • 2 pints ripe strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier (or other orange-flavored liqueur)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Water, as needed
Combine the strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar and Grand Marnier in a mixing bowl. Let the mixture sit at room temperature while you make the crepes. The longer it sits, the more juice the berries will release.
Whisk together the flour, eggs, butter, milk, salt and remaining sugar in another bowl until the mixture is smooth. Add water, a little at a time, until the batter is the consistency of heavy cream. You want the batter to be quite thin so it will spread easily around the pan.

Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray the pan with cooking spray. Then, working quickly, add about 1/4 cup of batter to the pan. Immediately lift the pan and swirl the batter around so it coats the bottom of the pan evenly. When the batter stops moving and is starting to set, put the pan back on the stove.

In about 30 seconds, the edges of the crepe will begin to lift slightly and turn golden.  Flip the crepe carefully with a spatula (or, if you’re brave, pick it up with your fingers and turn it by hand). Cook briefly on the second side. Fold in half, then in half again so you have a triangle. Put the finished crepe on a plate and start over again.

To serve, place two triangles on a plate and top with the macerated strawberries. Those of you who like whipped cream should feel free to add some at this point.

Makes about 12 8-inch crepes.

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Thanks once again to Ann for hosting SBS this week!

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