Sunday, July 27, 2008

Paneer Cheese with Herbs

Summer Antipasto

From Lydia Wlshin's The Perfect Pantry website.
Antipasto isn't an exact science; the more people you have, the more food you pile on the platter. Use your imagination and your painter's eye; combine colors and textures, and have plenty of good crusty bread on hand. Add meat and cheese, if you wish. This recipe -- more a method than a recipe -- is a pantry lover's dream. Serves 8-10.

Arrange on a platter, any way you wish, in a design or scattered as the base of the antipasto:

1 cup mesclun salad mix, or romaine lettuce
1-2 blood oranges or other seedless oranges, peeled and sliced crosswise
1 large red (sweet) pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large green pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large plum tomatoes (or other tomatoes, in season), cut into large chunks
1 large cucumber or English cuke, peeled, cut lengthwise,
then into half-rounds
3-4 radishes, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces1 sweet white onion, sliced into half-rounds
1 fennel bulb (anise), sliced thin (save the leafy tops for garnish)

Make piles here and there of:

1 16-oz can black pitted olives (large or colossal)
6-oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 3-3/8 oz jar green Spanish olives with red pimientos
1 8-1/4 oz can whole beets
1 3-oz can Italian tuna in oil
1 small can cannellini beans, drained

Make vinaigrette by placing in a jar with a tight-fitting lid:

1/4 cup vinegar (red wine or balsamic)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Shake the dressing until well-mixed, and pour over the antipasto.


From Lydia Walshin's Perfect Pantry website. As Julia Child would have said, proportions are not terribly important in this recipe. The best time to make this is during tomato season, which here in Rhode Island is right now. This isn't a completely traditional gazpacho, but it is a delicious version. Top with cold poached shrimp or chunks of avocado (or both) if you wish, for a hearty main course soup. Serves 8-10.

2 slices white or wheat bread (any size, any type)
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 English (seedless) cucumber, roughly chopped (do not peel)
6-8 large tomatoes, cut in half, seeded, roughly chopped
24 oz V-8 juice, or more to achieve desired consistency (depends on how juicy your tomatoes are)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Hot sauce, to taste
Coarse sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Place bread and garlic in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped. Empty into a very large (nonreactive) bowl.

In a small frying pan, sauté red onion with olive oil for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Add onion to the food processor along with as many of the bell pepper pieces as will fit. Pulse until finely chopped, and add to the bowl with the bread crumbs. Process remaining bell peppers with the cucumber, and add to the bowl. Process the tomatoes until finely chopped, and add to the bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients, and adjust seasoning to taste. Remove half of the mixture and return it to the food processor, and pulse until almost, but not totally, liquid (or use an immersion blender right in the mixing bowl). Add this back into the bowl, and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least two hours to allow flavors to marry. Serve cold.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Grilled Bluefish and Roast Potato Dinner Salad with Fish-Skin Crispies

Fish-Skin Crispies? That's right. This recipe comes from that large category of happy accidents, as you'll understand as you read on. DRI readers will already know our devotion to Bluefish. The basic idea for the recipe is to make a large dinner salad and top it with chunks of grilled bluefish and roasted potatoes. If you follow the link above you'll see that we grill the bluefish skin-side first, and then flip it. This time (as usual I have to admit) when I slid the spatula under the fish, I kind of crumpled all the skin to one side of the fillet. So, after I flipped it, I had the bare cooked side of the fish, and a sort of rolled-up blackened strip of skin. I finished grilling on the other side and brought the fish inside. Then it dawned on me. That crispy-crunchy burnt fish-skin would make a great little topping for the salad. I chopped it up into little chunks and sprinkled over the top. Man-o-Man, that is another DRI-special, easy, fun and totally tasty. If you need a formal recipe after all of that, it would go something like this.

1) Follow the recipe at Bluefish to make the fish, remembering to mess up when you're flipping the fish from the skin side.
2) Make a large dinner salad with your favorite greens (we used an arugula mix, some thinly sliced red cabbage and added some olives)
3) Slice potatoes into wedges and mix in a bowl with olive oil, garlic salt, pepper and paprika, bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
4) Chop the burnt skin and sprinkle over top.

Eat, enter the recipe into your food blog, Repeat.

Zucchini Pancakes with quick Basil Pesto.

Another recipe shamelessly stolen from Beyond Salmon. I love Helen Rennie's cooking style, and she is completely correct, this is a great way of using the glut of zucchini we all seem to get at around this time of year. It is a new core recipe and totally DR. We made a quick pesto for over top, and it was great (the instructions incude a slight variation that makes it a little easier to get right). Helen says...
What do you do with a zucchini that doesn't require any other ingredients, yet isn't totally boring? That was the dilemma facing me a few days ago. I didn't want to grill since it was raining, and I didn't feel like sautéing since I find sautéed zucchini kind of boring. Roasting could be a good idea, but it's much more interesting when zucchini are mixed with some other veggies, which I didn't have. That's when it dawned on me -- how about zucchini pancakes! I've never made them and was dying to try this dish I remember my Mom making. It's common in Russia to make oladyi (pancakes) with all kinds of vegetables and zucchini were one of our favorites.

I didn't have a recipe, but the one I improvised seemed to work incredibly well. The only extra ingredients necessary to make this dish are flour, eggs, salt, and oil (all of which are staples). I threw in some scallions since I found them lying forgotten in a drawer of my fridge, and then fried my pancakes in sunflower seed oil (the olive oil of Russian cooking). It's perfect for frying since it doesn't burn and imparts a great aroma to your dish (at least if you buy the real stuff from a Russian store). But if you don't have sunflower seed oil handy, canola oil will work just fine.

Serves 4 as a side dish

3/4 Lb zucchini (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions (optional)
Salt and pepper
Sunflower seed or canola oil for frying

Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater (or using a food processor).

Add flour, egg, scallions, and a generous amount of salt and pepper (and whatever other spices strike your fancy) in a large mixing bowl. Mix well to form a thick pancake-lie batter. Transfer zucchini to the bowl. Helen recommends squeezing the excess liquid out of the zucchini at this stage, which I think I forgot to do. Mine weren't overly wet, and the pancakes had a nice moisture to them, when done, so it's your call.
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add enough oil to lightly coat. When oil is hot (moves as easily as water when you tilt a pan), add the batter a spoonful at a time (each spoonful makes one pancake). Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 2 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel and repeat with the rest of the batter adding more oil as necessary. Serve immediately with sour cream, yogurt, or plain.

We added a quick pesto by combining

A large handful of fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic
olive oil to the desired consistency.
juice from a lemon wedge
touch of salt

we threw these in the bowl of the little chopper attachment that came with our immersion blender. zip, zip, zip, and we had enough for a nice dollop on each pancake. I could see a variety of different toppings working well here, and that's what makes this recipe a keeper, easy and lots of variations. We served alongside a nice big dinner salad.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sauteed Zucchini with Feta

As the zucchini turns, and the summer onslaught begins, something yummy to do with them.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large zucchini, thinly sliced in rounds
2 large garlic cloves
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley or basil, or both
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/2 cup crumbled feta

In a 12 inch skillet, heat oil on low. Slowly saute zucchini and garlic with a little salt until golden and slightly carmelized, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in parsley or basil, cilantro and feta.