Monthly Archives: June 2016

Strawberry cheesecake love bites

Who else has a large bowl full of fresh strawberries from their garden that they need to do something with?13442327_10206663286565524_7175707329866589239_n

June is strawberry season around here in NH and our plants have been pretty busy this year. We have hulled washed and eaten many of them but then what? On Father’s day my daughter made up some Jell-o cheesecake pudding and she was going to hull out the strawberries and dip them in a graham cracker crumb. The day got away from us and it never happened. The next day my husband decided to take things into his own hands and he sliced the strawberries in half, put some of the cheesecake filling and roll in the crumbs. While they tasted good, they were a pain to pick up and the proportions were all off.

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With larger berries you could scoop out some of the inside flesh to make room for the filling. My berries are not that large so I was playing with a few ideas, my final decision was to take the crumbs and put them on a plate. Take my cleaned berries and put a dollop of the cheesecake filling on the top and then place them upside down in the crumb mixture – BRILLIANT!
Proportions were perfect and everyone loved them and talk about easy; not sure why it took me so long to make these little nuggets of love bites. Try them you won’t be disappointed.

Make as many as you want to eat or serve
Strawberries
Jell-o cheesecake package – make as directed
box of Honey Maid Graham Cracker Crumbs

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Cover the bottom of you plate with the crumbs, put a small dollop of cheesecake on top of the strawberry and place it cheesecake side down on to the crumbs and enjoy!

 

 

 

Weeknight Eggplant Parm

Happy Father’s day!!!

This week I started with great intentions; which I like to think we all do; then by Tuesday everything went out the window. As you know by now; well that is if you have read a few of these weekly blogs; I love to cook and bake and I do so very often (except this week) It has been a really nice week here; weather wise so when I got home Tuesday after work I grabbed a glass of sangria went out on the back deck with a magazine and read it cover to cover. That is something pretty rare around here. We usually have so many things going on and things to do; but hey everyone deserves to relax once in awhile right?

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My daughter works a few nights a week, my son is either hanging out with his girlfriend or one of his buddies after work so a lot of nights it is just me and my husband for dinner. When we are all going to be home I really like it when we all sit down for dinner together; just like old times. Never knowing which night it could be I try to have some things in my back pocket that I could throw together for all of us. That is if I am not sitting out on the back deck with a magazine and a glass of sangria. So I finish my glass and magazine and start thinking cool we are all home what can I make. Open the fridge and there are a couple of eggplants I should get to, Oh and there is some leftover risotto that I want to turn into Arancini. OK we’ll have one or the other but I will make both. Can you see where this is heading? So I take everything I need out and get started. It’s already 6:30 OK closer to 7 by now and I think; by the time I get dinner on the table it would be 8:00 or later. Not one of my best ideas; maybe it was the sangria talking?

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The island was covered with my ingredients the clock is ticking and I finally come to my senses and pronounce let’s just have hot dogs and beans. The simple or rather known in my house the no-brainer dinner was enjoyed by all!  I spent the rest of the night in the kitchen making the Arancini and frying up the eggplant which I was finally able to assemble and enjoy the eggplant Parmesan on Friday night; the Arancini are now in the freezer to enjoy other day.

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Here is what I should have made with the eggplant being I had such a late start!

Weeknight Eggplant Parmesan

1 or 2 Medium or whatever you have on hand
1 jar of your favorite jar sauce
Half a package of mozzarella chopped
a sprinkle or two of red pepper flakes adds a little love
serve with fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese sprinkled on top

Cut up the eggplant into medium to small size chunks and place in your cooking vessel, I use my cast iron for the grill it works out great

Cover with sauce and mozzarella and then loosely with tinfoil and cook on medium low heat for about 10 minutes.

I love serving it along side some sweet Italian sausage links grilled and sliced up

 

Pan-Seared Swordfish Steak w/mixed peppercorn butter

I was recently called out for not having any fish recipes; mentioned were two fish that yes I have never blogged about; one being salmon and I am just not a fan. If anyone wants to share their favorite salmon recipe, I might consider trying it but I make NO promises. I think it is a little too fishy tasting for me. The other fish mentioned was swordfish and I will admit I do make this for my guys as they both love it. I don’t / didn’t really have a “recipe” for it. My husband said to treat it like a steak so I always put my steak standard kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper with a little Adobo seasoning that I just can’t do without. They have never complained that it is the same all the time.

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roasted beet and marcona almond salad on fresh garden greens with a light lemon mustard vinaigrette

I will admit that we love most all seafood but we definitely don’t eat it enough. I have great intention of eating it at least once a week, but I am going to bow out by saying we don’t have a fish market anywhere close, but that is a pretty lame excuse even for me. While I do love fresh fish my local market at least has the white fish I like flash frozen and I do always have some in the freezer and it thaws super quick; though I would prefer fresh.

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So to appease my good friend SF I made swordfish steaks just a little different this time and I thought I would share it with not only him but with all of you.

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Mixed-Peppercorn Butter

1/2 stick of butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4  1-inch thick swordfish fillets

Mash together the first 5 ingredients and season with a little kosher salt.

Heat your skillet over medium high heat with the olive oil. Sprinkle swordfish on both sides with Kosher salt and mixed peppercorns. Place in skillet and cook till browned one first side; 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook for another 3-4 minutes till done.

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Transfer swordfish to plates and add the seasoned butter to the same skillet. Cook over medium heat, scrapping up any browned bits, until melted and bubbling. Pour butter sauce over swordfish and serve.

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this was way easier than crushing my own!

Steak and Arugula Salad

Another typical weekend here in New England – yesterday was sunny gorgeous and 80ish today it is rainy, dreary and 63 degrees. I definitely think; well actually I know that the weather inspires what I feel like making and eating. Last night light and simple, today I am thinking of making soup; crazy right?

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We planted our gardens last weekend, I cannot wait for things to start growing and producing, I am dying for some fresh from the garden tomatoes. The last few years we have planted sunburst and cherry tomatoes; they are super sweet and so flavorful they will continue to be on my growing list. They barely make it into the house before you have to pop a handful in your mouth; my mouth is watering as I write.

The last few years I kept a journal of what worked in the garden and what didn’t. I got a chuckle out of one of my notes “no zucchini – unacceptable” I have had terrible trouble with squash bugs. I still haven’t solved it but I am determined to win the war.

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Last night I wanted something quick, light but filling for dinner last night. One of my husband’s clients gave him a bag full of arugula & mixed greens from her garden; guess she planted a lot earlier than we did. I had a flank steak on hand; BTW it is a great thing to have a skirt or flank steak in the fridge or freezer. They cook up fast, take marinade well or keep it simple with salt and pepper plus they are always tasty a very versatile. The cryovac ones will last longer in the fridge so you cook it when you want it, not when it has to be cooked.

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I made a simple dressing for the greens grilled up the steak and voila instant dinner; light and delicious.

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Flank Steak seasoned on both sides with olive oil, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Start the grill; while it is heating up make the dressing

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Simple dressing

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed is best
½ tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper

Fresh parmigiano reggiano for shaving

Grill the steak for about 3-4 minutes on each side

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While steak is resting for 5 minutes; dress the arugula and pour yourself a glass of wine of your choice.

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Slice the steak very thin against the grain and lay slices on top of the salad shave a few pieces of good quality parmigiano reggiano cheese and If possible serve alfresco