Monday, June 28, 2010

Greek Salad

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 heads of Romaine lettuce
  • 2-3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 small red onion
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • pepperoncini's (pickled in jar)
  • Kalamata olives, pitted

In a measuring cup mix salad dressing ingredients together with a wire whisk and set aside.

Wash romaine and tear into bite-size pieces, placing lettuce into a large bowl. Pat lettuce with paper towels to absorb extra water.

Add the following as prepared. Washed and chopped roma's. Cut off about a 5 inch chunk of cucumber, peel then slice thin, reserving the rest for later use. Peel and slice onion very thin, only using about ½ of onion, reserve the rest for later use. Add feta cheese and salad dressing, toss well. You may serve as a small side salad (serves 4-5 ) or a big dinner salad (serves 2-3). Then add 2 pepperoncini peppers and a few olives on top of each salad.

I love greek salads and found myself craving them so I decided to come up with a recipe I can make at home, it is so good. Perfect for dinner on a hot day or a side with a meal. Be creative and top with grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, or tuna salad. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Strawberries seem to be plentiful year round these days. Dark chocolate is good for you, and so are strawberries, hey it works for me. Besides Valentine's Day would not be the same at my house without these babies and it's become an annual tradition at our house. I like to make some extra and surprise someone with them. My favorite person to surprise is an elderly person whose spouse is no longer alive. No one thinks about them anymore at this time of the year and what was once a day to look forward to has fallen by the wayside. I'm sure you can think of someone's day to brighten up. They are not just for Valentine's Day as there are so many occasions that you would enjoy these so put your thinking cap on. Sweets for the sweet.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

  • 2 cups Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips from a bag, 60 % Cocoa
  • 3 Tbsp. Crisco
  • ½ cup Ghirardelli Classic White chips, from a bag
  • 2 (lbs.) large strawberries w/ leaves (and stems if possible)
  • wax paper
  • cooking spray
Wash strawberries and dry them well. The trick to coating them well is to have a dry cold berry. Place berries in refrigerator until ready to coat. Chill a cookie sheet in refrigerator.

Meanwhile melt bittersweet chocolate with 2 Tbsp. Crisco over top of double boiler over low heat. Stir with a wire whisk occasionally until just melted and smooth. Do not overheat chocolate, it will burn easily. When chocolate is melted remove berries and cookie sheet from refrigerator.

Cover cookie sheet with wax paper then spray with cooking spray. Hold onto leaves of berry and dip into chocolate coating evenly (start with the larger berries first working down to smaller ones). Hold above chocolate and when chocolate is done dripping place on wax paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat process until all berries are coated. Place cookie sheet with berries in refrigerator. Let berries chill for about 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile heat white chips and 1 Tbsp Crisco over double boiler repeating same steps to melt chocolate. Scrap melted chocolate into a small ziploc baggie and trim off one corner. Remove strawberries from refrigerator and drizzle white chocolate over top of berries. The trick to a nice fine line of white chocolate is to have a tiny end cut from bag corner and drizzle in a swift back and forth motion squeezing chocolate from bag, about 8 inches above berries. Chill berries in refrigerator for 15 minutes or until ready to serve.

Seal berries in an airtight container, if you need to layer them place a sheet of wax paper between them. They will keep about 1-2 days in refrigerator. Every time you make these it will get easier. Expensive to buy but inexpensive to make.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Spicy Gazpacho

I am dogsitting two Jack Russell terriers this week, what a couple of characters. Izzy & Spanky. Well, it has been a hot couple of days, so I thought I would post a cool and refreshing recipe that's great for summertime.

Spicy Gazpacho
  • 1 cup spicy V-8
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped and peeled mango
  • 1/2 cup chopped and peeled papaya
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup chopped seedless cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. tabasco
Chill V-8 and pineapple juice. Dice fruit and vegetables into very tiny pieces. Mix all ingredients together well and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gluten-Free Energy Bars

This is the time of year when we are more active, and these bars are a great source of energy. They blow away the expensive energy bars, and they are so delicious you will have a hard time eating just one. I tweaked this recipe for one of my favorite spin instructors who has celiac disease, otherwise known as gluten intolerance. These bars helped her through her Iron Man Triathlon. But you do not need to be gluten intolerant to enjoy these yummy bars.

Energy Bars (gluten free)
  • 3 cups crispy rice cereal (Perky O's Nutty Rice Crunch cereal, gluten free), organic
  • 3 cups toasted oat cereal (Perky O's gluten free, looks like cheerios), organic
  • 1 ½ cups raisins
  • ½ cup dry roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup honey
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 16 oz. jar Smucker's Natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Combine cereal, raisins, sunflower nuts and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Combine honey and sugar in medium pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until peanut butter is melted. Pour over cereal mixture, mix well. Press mixture into greased 15" x 10" x 1" jelly roll pan. When cool, cut into squares. Makes 5 dozen. They freeze well.

You will need a strong arm to stir these and a very large mixing bowl. Very addicting!

: Dried cranberries instead of raisins, silvered almonds instead of sunflower seeds, and white chocolate chips instead of chocolate.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pizzelle, A Classic Italian Treat

Pizzelle (pronounced purtsell), are a classic Italian cookie. They are light, thin and pressed with an intricate pattern; you will need a Pizzelle iron to make these. There is a mild licorice flavor from the anise seeds. They have been a treat in our family for generations. Pizzelle is plural, the word for one cookie is Pizzella. They are popular during the holidays and at Italian weddings.

  • 1/2 lb margarine, melted but not hot
  • 6 eggs beaten
  • 1/8 cup anise seeds
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups flour
Preheat Pizzelle iron. Mix all ingredients together well. You may do this by hand or use the large paddle on your electric mixer on low. On a pizzelle iron that has 2 large sections place 1 heaping Tbsp. batter on iron and close for about 1 minute. Remove cookies and repeat process until dough is used. If they stick wipe clean with a paper towel and spray iron with cooking spray, you should only have to do this once.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summertime Zucchini Recipes

Get rid of your excess zucchini with dignity! I can not claim this recipe as mine as I found it in the Valley Elementary cookbook that I volunteered to publish back when our boys were in elementary school many moons ago. These are two great things you can do with excess summer zucchini!

 Zucchini Relish

  • 10 cups unpeeled grated zucchini
  • 4 cups grated white onion
  • 5 Tbsp. salt
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 1 grated green bell pepper
  • 1 grated red bell pepper
Prepare first 3 ingredients in a large bowl, add water to cover mixture and let sit overnight at room temperature. Drain, then add remaining ingredients. Stir together well and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Place into sterilized jars and seal according to regular canning process. Makes 12 1/2 pints.

I won a blue ribbon with this recipe in
The Great Frederick Fair. If you have ever grown zucchinis in your garden then you know what it is like to miss one or two now and then. Before you know it, you have a zucchini baseball bat. This is a perfect way to use up the larger zucchinis.

Grilled Zucchini

  • 2 zucchinis
  • Pam olive oil spray
Wash zucchinis and cut off ends. Slice zucchini's lengthwise into 3 or 4 pieces depending on how large they are. Spray both sides of zucchini with oil. Cook over high heat on your grill for 5 minutes on each side.

So easy, but so good. I have had friends tell me they don't like zucchini but they like it this way. Enjoy!