Warm Fresh Summer Corn Salad

21 Aug

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I hope you’re eating enough fresh corn right now. If not, you’re going to regret it. It’s so delicious raw, cut off the cob and sautéed or grilled and slathered with compote butters. I highly suggest getting creative. Or just using this simple recipe for a warm salad of corn, onion, feta and lime juice.

Hop on it. Pronto.

Sweet Summer Corn Salad

  • 5 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut off
  • 3 tablespoons (or more), olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion
  • salt & pepper
  • parsley, chopped
  • feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 lime

Sauté onion in olive oil. Once tender, add corn and cook until bright yellow and sweet. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, feta and a good squeeze of lime juice.

Honey Glazed Peach Tart

18 Aug

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Growing up, my grandfather made fresh peach ice cream in the garage every summer. It was always the most exciting treat. And we loved watching the churning of cream and peaches while adding more rock salt to the ice. These days, an activity of that nature seems more time consuming than relaxing but the memories are easily consumed by purchasing fresh peaches. This weekend I tested a recipe for a honey-glazed peach tart with sliced almonds. It came out pretty delectable and I happily shared it with some very fit friends at a Saturday night cookout. It was worth the calories and is practically health food as peaches are so perfect this time of year.

I suggest watching the tart carefully. Mine took much longer than the recipe called for but was worth the extra twenty minutes of drooling while the peaches tendered in the oven.

Honey Glazed Peach Tart, Bon Appetit

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons (about) ice water

Filling

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 6 ripe medium peaches, peeled, halved, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons peach preserves or other jelly, melted

Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in butter until pea-size pieces form. With machine running, add enough ice water by tablespoonfuls to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 1 hour.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold overhang in and press to form double-thick sides. Press inside edge of crust to push it 1/8 to 1/4 inch above top edge of pan. Pierce bottom of crust with fork. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake tart crust until golden, piercing with fork if bubbles form, about 25 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool; wrap in plastic and store at room temperature.)
Mix sugar, flour, and lemon peel in large bowl to blend. Add peaches and toss to coat. Pour into baked crust. Drizzle honey over peach mixture; dot with butter and sprinkle with almonds. Bake until peaches are tender and almonds are toasted, about 35 minutes  or until the fruit is tender (mine took much longer). Brush fruit and almonds with peach preserves. Cool 15 minutes before serving. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Store tart at room temperature.)

Tuscan Kale Caesar with Seared Tuna

13 Aug

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For me, there is nothing better than discovering a new, easy and delicious recipe for solo weeknight dining. With a super busy work schedule, an avid gym regiment and one that finds socializing a priority – recipes like these fit in well. This one is super healthy too – packed with kale, anchovies, lemon juice and lean fish.

After a full day of work, an hour at the gym and a quick run by The Fresh Market, I made this delicious and beautiful plate in less than 15 minutes. I devoured it and didn’t feel a bit of guilt. That’s my kind of victory.

This is become a regular for me. Make it for one or it’s an easy and elegant entertaining dish too!

PS: I love a big selection of flavored olive oils to top dishes. The fire red cayenne pepper olive oil really jazzes up this plate!

Tuscan Kale Caesar with Seared Tuna

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
8 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch Tuscan kale or other kale, center stalks removed, thinly sliced crosswise
Tuna steaks
Cayenne pepper olive oil

In a food processor, blend together first 6 ingredients. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. This will make enough for many salads.

Thinly slice kale and dress with Caesar dressing. I like to dress kale a little earlier than a typical lettuce.

Sear tuna with salt and pepper in a super high heat skillet or grill. Cook to your desired temperature.

Drizzle with a super spicy cayenne pepper olive oil for a nice kick and beautiful presentation!

Spicy Peach & Sriracha Ribs

12 Aug

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North Carolina is surely becoming swampland with all this rain. It’s really not good for morale – however, this weekend I didn’t let it get in the way of my cooking plans. Thanks to the encouragement of the North Carolina Pork Council, I embarked on a rib making adventure on Sunday. In attempt to make them seasonal, I made a spicy peach and sriracha BBQ sauce that has plenty of vinegar and tang. Additionally, roasting the ribs with a whole cinnamon stick and slices of ginger gives your rainy day Sunday a nice aroma. Instead of grilling this bad guys, I had to broil because of the downpour. It was worth my time as they were almost as good as the smoky real thing. I recommend doing this on a beautiful day when you can grill – but don’t let the rain get in the way of a delicious culinary adventure – especially with ribs.

This peach and sriacha sauce would be good on any grilled meats – pork tenderloin, chops or even poultry.

Spicy Peach & Sriracha Ribs

Rub:

1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 2- to 2 1/4-pound racks baby back pork ribs

Braise:

1 large onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
6 thin rounds peeled fresh ginger
1 1/4 cups apple cider

Sauce:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely diced red onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup orange juice, with pulp
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups peaches, peeled and chopped

1. The day before, remove the silver skin from the rack of ribs. Mix together the dry ingredients and rub all over the ribs. Refrigerate overnight.

2. The next day, about 3 hours before you want to serve, layer in a roasting pan – onion, cinnamon, ginger and cider vinegar. Place the ribs on top and cover tightly with foil. Braise for 2 hours – or until meat is fork tender – at 325 degrees.

3. While the meat is roasting, in a saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add water, vinegar,  Worcestershire sauce, orange juice, brown sugar, Sriracha and salt. On medium heat, cook until reduced for about 10 minutes. Add peaches, cover the pan, and simmer for another 15 minutes or until peaches are soft. Move the mixture to a food processor and puree.

4. Once the ribs are tender, slather them with the peach BBQ sauce and grill. Or, broil if it’s raining. Serve with additional sauce – because it’s that delicious.

This post is sponsored by the NC Pork Council.

Open Faced Tuna Steak Burgers

6 Aug

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Recently, I’ve taking a liking to Hops a Burger Bar so much that I’ve decided to test some of my own recipes at home. Burgers are great to experiment with and easy to lure friends over for a simple supper. This take on a burger is an open faced seared tuna steak on top of toasted bread and slathered with a rich remoulade sauce. I love the bite of onion, caper and anchovy on a rare cooked piece of tuna.

I recommend a simple season on the tuna – salt, pepper and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Grill or sear for just a moment of two and top with this oh-so-rich sauce.

Grilled Tuna Steak Burger Remoulade Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon (packed) minced fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon grated onion
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
2 hard-boiled large egg yolks
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons drained capers

Margaret’s Mountain of Slaw

1 Aug

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My friend Margaret knows a thing or two about potlucks, lentils and leafy greens. I’ll let you make your own conclusions – but it’s why we all love her so. For Jessica’s party, she made the most massive mountain of coleslaw. She had to make it at her mother’s house because of the need for a more serious food processor and kitchen! While this recipe is called “Not Your Mama’s Coleslaw,” her mother did remind her that coleslaw was always left over at potlucks. She was, indeed, correct. But the slaw was just as good the next day for a hangover brunch!

The addition of blue cheese is so delicious. Make sure to try this!

Not Your Mama’s Cole Slaw, Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Ina Garten

1/2 small head green cabbage
1/2 small head red cabbage
4 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled and shredded
1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 cups (16 ounces) mayonnaise, low-fat is fine, as is swapping half with yogurt
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) blue cheese (optional)

Prepare the vegetables: Halve the cabbage halves and cut out the cores. Slice the cabbage as thinly as you can with a sharp knife. Alternately, you can use a mandoline to cut the thinnest slivers or use your food processor’s slicing blade (lay the cabbage horizontally in the feed tube) to do the job in just seconds. Transfer chopped cabbage into a large bowl, discarding any very large pieces. Stir in the shredded carrot and parsley, reserving a few tablespoons of parsley for garnish.

Make the dressing:
Mix the mayonnaise, mustards, vinegar, celery seed, salt and pepper in a smaller bowl. Stir in blue cheese, if using. Toss the cabbage mixture with dressing to taste –- you will probably not need all of it, but it keeps in the fridge for weeks (even longer, but I’m embarrassed to admit how we’ve tested this theory) –- and adjust seasonings as needed.

Do ahead: Vegetables can be prepped and dressing can be made days in advance. Mix them an hour or so before you’ll serve them to allow the flavors to meld

A Southern Sendoff; on friends and brisket

29 Jul

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This is weekend I hosted a house full of friends to wish my very good friend Jessica best wishes on her adventure north to Michigan. When Jess broke the news a couple months ago that she was taking a new job at Michigan State, I said “you gotta do what you gotta do.” No doubt, I was ignoring the fact that my friend was actually moving away. It may have taken the preparation of fourteen pounds of southern slow cooked brisket for a large crowd of Jessica’s friends for the reality to really settle in. Four hours of standing by a 325 degree oven leaves room to account for late nights at College Hill, paddle boarding adventures, hikes to Hanging Rock with Winston in tow, marathons of Law & Order, latkes parties, truffle popcorn and countless gossip sessions at the nail salon.

I’m a believer that places are really only spaces without people. So it is my hope that the house full of  friends on Saturday night will leave a reminder to Jessica that Greensboro will always be home . Our friendship has been filled with much laughter, a few tears and many adventures, both significant and insignificant. Without a doubt, you’ll be missed on Mendenhall. Come back and see us soon – I’ll probably still have leftover brisket.

Atlanta Brisket, Cooks Illustrated

  • 3 1/2 lbs beef brisket, flat cut fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 lb onion, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 cups cola
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Using fork, poke holes all over brisket. Rub entire surface of brisket with 1 T salt. Wrap brisket in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 or up to 24 hours.

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325. Pat brisket dry with paper towels and season with pepper. Heat 2 t oil in 12 inch nonstick skillet over med-high til just smoking. Place brisket fat side down in skillet; weigh down with dutch oven or heavy cast iron skillet and cook til well browned, about 4 minutes. Remove dutch oven, flip brisket and replace dutch oven on top and cook til other side is well browned,about 4 minute Transfer to platter.

Heat remaining 2 t oil in same skillet over med til shimmering. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, 10-12 minute Transfer to 13×9 inch baking dish and spread into even layer

Combine cola, ketchup, onion powder, sugar, garlic powder, thyme, 1 t salt, and 1 t pepper in a bowl. Place brisket fat side up on top of onions and pour cola mixture over brisket. Place parchment paper over brisket and cover dish tightly with foil. Bake til tender and fork slips easily in and out of meat, 3 1/2 – 4 hours. Let brisket rest in liquid, uncovered for 30 minutes.

Transfer brisket to carving board. Skim any fat from top of sauce with large spoon. Slice brisket against grain into 1/4 inch thick slices and return to baking dish. Serve with sauce.

 

Jalapeno Roasted Potatoes

24 Jul

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I saw this recipe in this month’s Bon Appetit magazine and knew I had to make it. I love spicy foods and my friends can sometime get angry with me for going overboard with a jalapeno! This recipe has a kick but it perfect for a casual night with hamburgers or hotdogs!

Jalapeno Roasted Potatoes, Bon Appetit July 2014

 

  • 3 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved crosswise if large
  • ½ cup olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced into rounds, seeds removed if desired
  • ¼ cup (lightly packed) torn flat-leaf parsley leaves
Preheat oven to 450°. Toss potatoes with ¼ cup oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until golden brown and tender, 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly, then lightly flatten.

Meanwhile, whisk vinegar and mustard in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in remaining ¼ cup oil until emulsified; season with salt and pepper. Add potatoes, jalapeño, and parsley and toss; season with salt and pepper.

 

Blueberry Hand Pies

21 Jul

 

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It’s berry season and I’m having fun experimenting with new desserts. This recipe is inspired by Bon Appetit. In actually, I made their dough by hand and it wasn’t sweet enough. I recommend saving time and buy store bought pie dough or canned biscuits (a tip from my mother’s friends). Simply stuff with a blueberry mixture, crimp and bake. These are playful and fun to eat by hand at a dinner party.

Blueberry Hand Pies

  • store bought pie crust or canned biscuits
  • 2 cups blueberries (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Roll out the dough into 6ish small circles or squares. Stuff with filling. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake for about 30 minutes or until browned. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Spice Up Your Summer

15 Jul

As you guys know, I’m a big fan of spices. Greensboro is lucky enough to have the ultimate spice source at Savory Spice Shop in Friendly Center. Just this weekend I stocked up on good Mexican vanilla, truffle salt, sweet and spice paprika, cumin, Himalayan sea salt and an interesting Cuban spice mix. It’s a lot of fun to explore and get to know Ashley and Clayton, the local spice experts.

So, spice up your summer with a trip to Savory Spice Shop. Mention Mod Meals and you’ll get a boost!

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