Herb Buttered Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is such an easy and delicious side dish.  Cooking the corn can be done several different ways: boiling, roasting, or grilling with husks on or off.  I personally like the corn grilled with the husks off, the little char marks make for a nice crispy look and bite.  For a little extra flavor I made a seasoned butter to rub on the corn after coming off the grill.

Herb butter can be made in any combination that you may like.  My favorite combination for on corn is cilantro, chive, and parsley with garlic.   For this round I didn’t have cilantro, so it’s just garlic, chives, and parsley with 1 stick of unsalted butter and salt.

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Let the butter sit out for about 30 minutes to soften up, or if you don’t have time you can put it in the microwave for about 10 seconds to soften the butter without melting it.  Mince the garlic and herbs then mix into the butter with a dash of salt.  At this point you can roll the butter in wax paper then put in the fridge if you want a log of butter to cut or roll the corn on, or you can leave it in the bowl like I did.

 

Grill the corn on a hot grill for about 15 minutes, turning a 1/4 turn every 3-4 minutes until you start to get grill marks on a few of the kernels as shown below.  While still hot, butter the corn and serve immediately.

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Ginger Glazed Pork

It was feeling a little crisp in the air, so I decided it was time for a “fall” meal.  Obviously I turned to pork and root vegetables, standard.  For the pork I searched around for a recipe that I have used in the past that I got from a friend.  It was something to do with maple syrup, shallots, and mustard, but I couldn’t find it.  I ended up using a recipe I found on the food network site and loosely following it.

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Ingredients:

-4 to 6 pork loins about 1 inch thick

-1 heaping Tbsp fresh grated ginger

-2 garlic cloves, minced

-1/2 cup maple syrup

-2 Tbsp mustard

-salt and pepper

-olive oil

Directions:

1. Start by seasoning the pork with salt and pepper, generously.  Try to do this about 30 minutes before you want to put it on to cook.  If it’s closer to room temperature it helps it to cook more evenly (or so says the internet) and not get a ring around the edges (like mine).

2. Heat a large skillet and add olive oil to the bottom to coat the pan.  When it’s nice and hot with little waves in the oil, sear the pork on both sides for 3-4 minutes.  I wasn’t sure if this was the exact amount of time, but you want it to sear and start cooking without being totally done.   Remove and set on a clean plate.

3.  In the hot skillet add more olive oil if necessary to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the garlic and ginger.  Let this cook for 2-3  minutes before adding the maple syrup and mustard.  Stir for about 2-3 minutes before adding the pork back to the pan to simmer for 5-6 minutes, flipping once.

I was having issues with splattering oil and maple syrup, so I put a lid partially over the skillet…this may have interfered with the thickening of the sauce, so I had to cook it a little longer to thicken up.

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For the final plating I used some of the left-over coleslaw from BBQ night and made bacon roasted cauliflower and beets (recipe to come).  I think in the future I will try to marinade the pork in some kind of ginger and and white wine concoction to infuse a little more flavor to the center of the meat, but the glaze makes a nice coating of flavor.

Basil, Lemon, and Jalapeno Pesto

For our anniversary my husband and I enjoyed a nice dinner out at one of our favorite wine bars the night before, La Madia.  On our actual anniversary we decided to make a meal at home.  We got a nice bottle of champagne and I was going to plan a meal to compliment it, but he was dead set on having a hamburger for dinner.  I like a burger as much as the next girl, but it wasn’t exactly what I was in the mood for.  Instead, we drank beers and grilled out, typical.  While he made his burger I tried to get creative.  It started with making a pesto…

For the pesto I took a bunch of my overgrown basil and mint to use as the base.  I used primarily basil as it is threatening to bolt, but I’m really into mint so I had to use a bit of that to round it out.

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Ingredients:

-1 cup of basil

-1/3 cup of mint

-juice from 2 lemon wedges

-1/2 jalapeno, diced

-2 cloves garlic

-1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

Add everything to the blender or food processor except the olive oil.  I would add this slowly so as to not make it too runny, may not take the full amount.  Mine came out a little juicy looking, but it had good flavor.

2013-09-04 19.23.12My husband put the pesto on his burgers with tomatoes, basil leaves, grilled onions, and peppers.  It looked pretty tasty, but I was looking for something a little lighter and fresher.

2013-09-04 19.46.07First I put the pretzel roll on the grill, cut side down.  After a minute I took it off to spread the pesto on the top and bottom and lined it with fresh mozzarella cheese.  To melt the cheese, I put the bread back on the grill, but turned the grill off so it’s hot enough for melting the cheese but not burn the outside of the bread.

Next I filled with tomatoes, fresh basil, a grilled onion, pepper, and slice of grilled zucchini.  So good!  We ate outside so the lighting in the picture for the final product is extremely poor and doesn’t do it justice, so you will have to use your imagination.

Garlic Chicken with Zucchini Ribbons

Tonight for dinner we had a few chicken breasts left over from the BBQ last night.  Instead of the rich and bold taste of BBQ sauce I took the chicken in a different direction…Garlic.  With the ribbons of zucchini and garlic on the chicken it has a hint of fall flavor.

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Chicken: I butterflied each breast open to decrease grill time and create more flavor from the seasoning through each bite.  I sprinkled a generous amount of salt, pepper, and garlic seasoning on each breast right before grilling.  When you butterfly chicken the risk of over cooking and drying out definitely increases, so watch closely while grilling.  These took 4 minutes on each side on a high heat grill, then let them rest for 10 minutes before eating .

Zucchini Ribbons: I read a recipe today that make the zucchini similar to this but then covers it all with an alfredo sauce.  I didn’t want such a heavy dinner, so I skipped that part entirely and added Parmesan instead.

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini (I used a large yellow and small green one)

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil (infused with garlic, pepper, and red chili peppers)

Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

1. Using a vegetable peeler I sliced the zucchini into very thin ribbons length wise and gathered them into a bowl.  I drizzled olive oil, salt, and pepper onto the ribbons and mixed together with my hands to coat each ribbon.

2. In a cast iron skillet on medium heat I coated the skillet with olive oil and added the cloves of garlic and a crushed red pepper flakes.  I let this cook for 2-3 minutes, until I could smell the fragrance of garlic before adding the zucchini.  The zucchini cooks quickly and I didn’t want it to burn, so I tossed it with tongs every minute or so until the ribbons started to soften trying to be careful not to let them turn to mush.  Total cooking time was 8-10 minutes.  Finally I topped it off with some grated Parmesan cheese and cracked pepper.

On the side I made a small Caprese salad with a huge tomato from the farmers market and fresh basil.  I drizzled infused olive oil on it with fig balsamic from Old Town Oil.

Infused Olive Oil

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Making infused olive oil is a way to add more flavor to dishes without so much effort or cooking time.  Right now I have a garlic, pepper, and red chili pepper infused oil that is really complementary to cooked vegetables or even for dipping bread or pizza crust in.  I found this jar at Marshalls for just a few bucks, the stopper/latch combo is really a nice feature.

To make, I put a few cloves of garlic (cleaned and sliced in half), a table spoon of pepper corns, and 2 whole dried chili peppers into the jar.  Fill with a good quality olive oil and close the jar, done.  The flavor gets better over time, but I try to make sure to use it in a few weeks in case the garlic starts to turn bad.

 

Grapefruit and Mint Cocktail

This drink started out as a refreshing afternoon beverage, then turned into a signature cocktail later at night by adding a shot of Bombay Sapphire Gin.  Delicious.

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Ingredients:

-2 Lime slices

-1 Tbsp Mint simple syrup

-10-15 mint leaves

-Grapefruit juice

-Seltzer water

-Gin (optional)

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Directions:

1. In the bottom of your glass muddle together the slices of lime, mint leaves, and mint simple syrup.

2. Fill the glass with ice and add a shot of gin, then fill the glass about half way with grapefruit juice, and finish off with seltzer water.

3. I then stirred everything together, but I was told the seltzer water will act as a natural stir to mix everything together.

To make the mint simple syrup:

I made this the other day when I was making the lavender simple syrup, I knew it would come in handy at some point.

Dissolve 1/2 cup of sugar into 1 cup of water over medium/high heat (3-5 minutes).  Remove from heat and add about 1 cup of mint leaves to the syrup, let cool completely before straining off the leaves.  Store in a sealed container the refrigerator.

Summer BBQ Coleslaw

Coleslaw is an easy to make summer staple.   A flavor that will cool you off when eating spicy BBQ but not get lost in the meal at the same time.  I found a recipe a few years ago that I changed very slightly to the version I made today.  It is just a little creamy but has a nice punch of vinegar at the same time.

Ingredients:

1/3 Cup light mayo

1 Tbsp cider vinegar

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp poppy seeds

1 red onion, chopped

1 lb coleslaw mix

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Directions:

1. Mix together the mayo, vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, poppy seeds into a creamy dressing as shown above.

2. To this, add your chopped red onion and coleslaw mix until everything is evenly coated.

3. Allow it to sit in the fridge a few hours before serving.

Leftovers Frittata

Leftovers do not have to be a repeat of the original meal.  Making our leftovers into an entirely new dish is like a game for me.  One of the best ways to use of leftovers is to make a frittata the next morning.  The leftovers we have in tow this morning are truffle-oil brussel sprouts, spicy mixed grilled vegetables, and sausage.

In a small cast iron Skillet (5-6″ diameter) sprayed with olive oil on medium heat I warmed up the leftover sprouts, veggies and thinly sliced sausage.  I let them cook for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times to get evenly warmed.

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While the leftovers were heating up in the skillet I took 3 eggs and scrambled them with a tablespoon of water and 3 large sprigs of fresh thyme (center stem removed).  I poured the eggs over the leftovers and shaved fresh Parmesan on top (again, using what I have leftover from previous dishes).

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Since I used a cast iron skillet it can go directly into the oven at 350 for 10 minutes.  If you don’t have cast iron, make sure you are using a skillet that is meant to go from stove-top to oven.  If you are using a larger skillet (10-12″ diameter) you would need to use more eggs and cook longer, nearly 30-45 minutes to cook through.

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