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Thursday
Jul282011

Grilled tomatoes with herbs and lemon

Mmmm, I love summer. I plan to enjoy every morsel of summer sun that shines upon our sometimes-frigid state. We Minnesotans are funny like that. In the summertime, if we are not working, we are ALWAYS outside. Every single one of us. Every lake, sidewalk and waterpark is packed full of people. In the spring, when it's, you know, 40 degrees, you can find us all outside donning short-sleeved shirts. I blame it on the intense winters we endure. They make us crazy! We certainly do appreciate our outdoor/warm sun time (or anything above 40-degree sun time).

If we are not throwing frisbees in a park or taking our kids down waterslides, we are grilling! Nothing screams "I love warm weather!" quite like grilling. My husband and I grill a lot. Well, he works a lot this time of year, so we grill as much as we can. The other night while he grilled some delicious burgers for dinner, I grilled tomatoes! Dear goodness, these were fantastic! They were super easy and packed full of flavor.

Heat a grill to medium-high heat.

In a small bowl, combine:

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste

Halve 4 large tomatoes crosswise and brush the cut sides with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Place them cut-side down onto the grill. Grill for 4 minutes. Flip the tomatoes and grill until the skins begin to char, 3 minutes. 

Transfer to a serving plate, cut sides up.

Drizzle the lemon-herb mixture over top, and serve warm.

That night I ate just what you see in the photo. A burger and two grilled tomatoes.

The next day, I added a leftover grilled tomato to a turkey sandwich. YUM.

And that night, I added a leftover grilled tomato to a leftover burger. YUM YUM.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Monday
Jul252011

Snap peas with mint

As promised, I'm back to share this super simple yet totally delicious snap pea recipe with you! Thanks so much for the birthday wishes. The day was a ton of fun, and....lobster is TOMORROW NIGHT! Tummy rumbling!

In a 12-inch skillet, bring 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of butter to a boil over high heat.

Add 1 pound of trimmed snap peas. Cover and cook until bright green, about 2 minutes.

Remove the lid and reduce the heat to medium. Continue cooking, tossing occasionally, until the peas are crisp-tender and the water has evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes.

Remove from the heat and toss with 1/2 cup packed, thinly sliced fresh mint leaves. Season with salt and pepper.  

Serve with...LOBSTER! Or just pork.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Saturday
Jul232011

Pork chops with rhubarb-cherry sauce

This recipe has nothing to do with the fact that today is my birthday. It just happens to be the next recipe in line, so to speak. I suppose I could have made something up, like, I eat rhubarb and pork on my birthday every year. Hmm, that would be an unusual tradition. Actually, in case you are wondering, every year on my birthday my husband takes me out for a nice dinner. This year he has to work, so we are postponing it a few days. For the past few years, I have chosen Osaka as my birthday dinner spot, and I think I will choose it again this year. Mmm, can't wait for lobster, scallops, steak and fried rice! 

I cannot think of an appropriate transition from lobster back to rhubarb and pork, so I am declaring an abrupt change of subject!

I do have to say that this was a delightful little meal. I prepared it relatively quickly and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite.

In a small bowl, combine:

1/2 cup dried cherries (as I was making it, I thought how fabulous it would be to replace these with chopped bing cherries)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup hot water

Let stand for 10 minutes to soften the cherries.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium-low heat.

Add 1/2 cup finely chopped onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add to the saucepan:

Cherry mixture

8-10 ounces rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)

3 tablespoons sugar

Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the rhubarb has softened, 5 to 8 minutes.

Stir in a pinch of ground nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Generously season both sides of 4 pork loin chops (each 1/2-inch thick and 6-8 ounces) with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the pork (in 2 batches) until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Serve topped with the warm sauce.

There is a quick little recipe for the snap peas you see in the photos that I will share. Perhaps tomorrow or the next day.

Till then! I must get on with turning 36 years old!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
Jul202011

Lemon ice box pie

This is Week #29 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

 

I will admit that since starting this blog, I don't often make the same thing twice. If I do make something more than once, its status automatically becomes Excellent. This lemon pie? EXCELLENT. It is insanely delicious and will be made again and again in my kitchen. My husband and I each took a bite and simultaneously went, "Ohhhh! MMMmmm!" We agreed that it tastes like Key Lime Pie's first cousin, Key Lemon Pie. And then we fought over the rest of the piece.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Add to a food processor:

14 whole graham crackers, broken

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pulse until finely ground but not powdery.

Add 6 tablespoons of butter and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened.

Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan and press into the bottom and two-thirds up the side. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

Two 14-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk

1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice

In another bowl, add:

2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

8 large egg yolks

Using a handheld mixer, beat the zest-yolk mixture until pale.

Beat in the condensed milk mixture until smooth.

Pour the filling into the crust.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center jiggles slightly when the pie is moved.

Transfer the pan to a rack. Allow it to cool for 1 hour. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze the pie for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Wrap a warm, damp kitchen towel around the side of the springform pan to release the pie and remove the ring. Using a hot knife, slice the pie, transfer to plates and serve immediately.

Excellent excellent excellent!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Monday
Jul182011

Minted watermelon popsicles

This is Week #28 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

When I was in middle school, I can remember taking full advantage of the fruit trees we had in our yard (I haven't always lived in Minnesota). We had quite the selection. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tangerines, tangelos. In addition to eating and drinking large quantities of fruit, I would often do things like put together an elaborate fruit juice stand or come up with a creative multi-fruit popsicle. I miss those fruit trees! Now all I have in my yard is snow for half the year and grass for the other half. 

When this recipe popped up, I was taken back to those days of abundant fruit. I felt like a kid again as I filled up the ice cube trays and eagerly waited for the popsicles to freeze.  

In a blender or food processor, add:

1 1/2 pounds seedless watermelon without the rind, cut into 1-inch dice (about 4 cups)

2 tablespoons sugar

Puree until smooth.

Stir in:

1/4 cup mint leaves, minced

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

Pinch of salt

Pour the puree into 8 popsicle molds or 2 standard ice cube trays.

Freeze until hard, about three hours. Insert popsicle sticks after an hour and a half of freezing.

I had no idea that watermelon and mint were such a great duo! If our fruit tree haven would have included a garden with watermelons, I may have already known about this.

These popsicles are a refreshingly delicious treat in this heavy, humid heat we are experiencing right now. Which, by the way, I refuse to complain about. Remember that pile of snow? I will never complain about heat again, and I'm standing by that! Pant pant..

Click here for a printable recipe!