Sunday, May 23, 2010 – Seared Scallops

May 24, 2010

Seared Scallops with Summer Vegetables

Week 2 of the no carbs, down 8 pounds and another amazing menu that will not leave your carb loving guests wanting.  Seared scallops, grilled summer squash with fresh cherry tomato relish and cucumber salad with sour cream and chives.  Oh yeah, and steamed, farm fresh green beans and sugar-free cheese cake with Florida blueberries for dessert.  This is a diet?  I can’t remember why I ever strayed from it.

 

Menu:

Blueberry Cheesecake

Wait  untill you read these easy, elegant recipes.  These can be served to any distinguished guests, not just to the “carb challenged”.  I try to keep my own dietary challenges transparent to my guests.  This menu definitely achieves that goal.  This is a lovely, healthy, yet elegant enough for Sunday company, menu.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010 Grilled Split Chicken

May 24, 2010

My joys in the kitchen have caught up with me once again.  As a result, I’m back on the low-carb diet and this time  I’m serious!  Really, I mean it!  The menu for today is fantastic for low carbers.  And your carb lovers won’t miss a thing, I promise.

Menu:

Grilled Split Chicken with Sage Rub

My toasty chicken wasn’t very photogenic for me.  In real life, it was beautiful, smelled amazing and was moist and delicious!  After removing the little bugger’s back bone, I layed him flat, rubbed him all over with olive oil and a lovely dry rub made with sea salt, black pepper and poultry seasoning (mostly sage).  I let the bird relax with the herbs for a few hours before putting it on a hot grill on indirect heat.  My grill has three burners, so I turn the middle one off, and leave the outer two on high.  I weighed the bird down with a heavy floor tile wrapped in tin foil to promote even cooking.  It only cooked for 30 minutes.  I turned him over after 15 minutes.  Don’t forget to let the bird rest for at least 10 minutes after removing from the grill.

Cauliflower Au Gratin

The au gratin was a big hit.  I thought it was every bit as good as a potato au gratin.  I used my food processor to thinly slice the fresh cauliflower.  I stacked the slices in the pan and poured a cheese sauce overtop.  Sprinkled a little grated cheese on top and voila, easy on the eyes as well as the taste buds.

I asked David to help with the asparagus.  He had never grilled asparagus before and when he hadn’t returned after 10 minutes I got scared.  I ran out to the grill just as he was pulling them off, but I was a little too late.  They were a teeny bit over done, but oh man, they were delicious anyway.  For you newbies, don’t grill the asparagus more than just a few minutes.  Just long enough to put a grill mark on.

Minty Chocolate Pana Cotta

This pana cotta can be made with real sugar if you want.  I used a standard recipe and substituted Splenda for the sugar.  It was creamy and delicious.  I think the minty flavor disguised the fact that I had used an artificial sweetener.   The mint flavor and the food coloring was my little idea.  David and I discussed whether to use pink or green food coloring.  He voted for green.  What color do you think I voted for?


Mother’s Day May 9, 2010 – Grilled Swordfish with Roasted Vegetables

May 10, 2010

 

Grilled Swordfish with Roasted Vegetables

As much as I love to cook, I wanted the Mother’s Day meal to require very little effort yet be elegant and delicious.  Look to seafood when you want something fast and delicious.   I made the trek over to Fort Lauderdale to pick up the freshest fish money can buy at the Fish Peddler East.  The sword fish looked fantastic.  I decided not to mess with mother nature and prepared it with a marinade of olive oil, white wine, lemon juice and salt and pepper.  I did it on the grill because, in my opinion, there is no better way to cook swordfish.  I served it with a medley of rosted vegetables that included redskin potatoes, fresh green beans and grape tomatoes.

Grilled Swordfish with Roasted Vegetables

Mother’s Day Menu:

  • Grilled Swordfish with Lemon and White Wine
  • Medley of Roasted Vegetables
  • Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

Saturday, May 8, 2010 – Margarita Snapper

May 9, 2010

Margarita Snapper with Grilled Vegetables

Hey, what the heck – it’s not Sunday?  I’ll tell you, what’s going on.  I woke up this morning and wanted some fresh seafood.  I had big ideas but no ingredients.  I love the Fish Peddler East, in Fort Lauderdale, but it’s so far to go from here.  When I maintained an office in Fort Lauderdale, I would stop in every Thursday evening.  But now, with no office on the east side, I don’t get over there so much.  So, I headed over to Whole Foods Market.  For my neighborhood, they have the best, freshest, most reliable seafood.  For the most part, they are a bit pricey, but I like to go and see what’s on sale and then use the zen approach.  I went, and they had yellow tail snapper on sale.

YAY!  I love snapper!  My favorite way to fix any snapper is what I call, “Margarita Snapper”. Basically, you fix a margarita, add some olive oil and seasonings and use it as a marinade, basting sauce and drizzle.   I love this recipe and I have been wanting to post it here for others to enjoy.  So even though it’s Saturday, you’re getting my Margarita Snapper.

The menu I came up with to go with the snapper was:

Margarita Snapper with Grilled Peppers and Roasted Potatoes

Check out those pepper and onions!  They are so beautiful and trust me they are as delicious as they look.  I marinate them in the same marinade that I made for the fish, tossed them in the grill basket and grilled them until the edges have that beautiful char.  You are going to love these!


Sunday, May 2, 2010 – Stuffed Artichokes

May 8, 2010

Pork Roast, Stuffed Artichokes and Braised Swiss Chard

Menu:

  • Citrus Pork Loin Roast
  • Artichokes Stuffed with Fennel and Fontina Cheese
  • Swiss Chard Braised in White Wine, Lemon and Butter
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

Warm Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

So, why did I choose this menu?  I was inspired by a TV show, Alex’s Day Off.  She made an entire meal of Italian comfort food that reminded her of her parents.  On the show, she made stuffed artichokes, pork meatballs in a marinara sauce and topped it off with a chocolate tart.  I was enamored with all of it, but for what I was looking for, way too rich.  I really wanted to make the stuffed artichokes, so I did, and paired them up with a pork loin roast and braised swiss chard.  And I know I made rhubarb custard last week, but hey, it’s in season, so I made rhubarb again this week.  I made a warm rhubarb and strawberry crisp with vanilla ice cream. 

Pork loin roast is very lean and can get dry and tough if not cooked properly.  A good citrus marinade can help tenderize the roast.  I read several different takes on citrus pork and decided to incorporate Florida grapefruit in the marinade.  I used a combination of grapefruit, orange and lime along with cilantro, onion and garlic for the marinade.  As usual, I include olive oil, salt and pepper.  I marinated it overnight and then cooked it on high heat (450 degrees F) for about 40 minutes, basting regularly and checking for temperature.  When the meat reached 125 degrees F, I took it out of the oven and draped it with tin foil and let it rest for 15 minutes.  While the meat was resting, I strained the marinade and cooked it down into a syrupy, yum that I drizzled over the meat when it was served.

Pork Loin Roast with Florida Grapefruit Marinade

For the artichokes, first make a water bath with lots of salt and lemon.  This is because, while you are prepping the artichokes, they will turn black in a hurry if they are not submersed in lemon juice.  If you have a giant bowl big enough to hold all the artichokes, great, but if not, pull out a big pot and fill it up with water.   Process enough lemons to produce between one half and one cup lemon juice.  Trust me, you need lots of lemon juice to keep those chokes from turning black on you.  To process the chokes, peel off most of the outer leaves by going round and round the choke, peeling off the tough leaves until you reach the tender edible leaves.  At this point, chop off the top half of the remaining leaves.  Using a paring knife or spoon or both, scrape out the “choke” from the middle of the vegetable.  Pull out all the hairy, spiky, inedible looking inner leaves.  It’s a little tricky, but keep at it until you have a lovely little artichoke cup.  You want to peel the tough outer layer of the artichoke.  So, using a paring knife, start from the end of the stem and peel toward the base, removing the tough outer layer off the artichoke.  You will be left with a lovely little cup, ready for stuffing.

Make the stuffing up by cleaning and chopping up a bulb or two of fennel.  Mix it up with some olive oil, bread crumbs, cubed fontina cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.  Arrange the chokes in a baking dish and stuff them.  Arrange the excess stuffing around the artichokes.  Te prevent the chokes from burning, cover the baking pan with foil.  Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the artichokes are tender.  Remove the foil and place under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the stuffing.

Check the recipe section for the braised Swiss Chard.


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