Green Beans with Balsamic Glazed Red Onions

It is another  Meatless Monday.  On Monday’s I try to post meatless ideas.  Today, I am making an easy side dish market fresh green beans topped with balsamic glazed red onions.  A recipe to keep for all your summer entertainment, dinners, picnics and bbq’s.  Let’s cook!

Green Beans with Balsamic Glazed Red Onions

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A Summer recipe winner, great to serve at all your outdoor events

Ingredients

1 lb of green beans ends snapped and washed

1 cup of thinly sliced red onions

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

2 tbls balsamic vinegar

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Snap and wash the green beans

-In a pot large enough to hold the beans, fill with cold water, add sea salt and boil the beans until they are to your desired doneness.  *note- I like my green beans cooked a little longer than normal until they are soft, but not mushy.

-Drain beans and place in a serving bowl

-Thinly slice the red onions, in a small skillet, add the olive oil and the onions, on low heat, slowly cook the onions until they become soft

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-Add the balsamic vinegar to the onions, cook for a few minutes until the onions are sweet, tender and the flavors meld

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-Add the balsamic onions to the green beans, mix well  *note-try to add the onions to the beans while they are still warm, it enhances the flavors .  Adjust salt and pepper.

-Serve and enjoy as a side dish with all your grilled meats/fish/poultry

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

 

 

 

Grilled Roman Artichokes with Lemon, Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise

It is great when you  find grilled artichokes on a restaurant menu,  I always order them for an appetizer, with the delicious dipping mayonnaise served alongside, they are so good.  Well I decided  to try and make my own version of the recipe I love so much in my kitchen….Do not let the artichoke intimidate you, clean, cut, boil and grill them, it is as easy as that!!  Let’s cook!!

Grilled Roman Artichokes with Lemon and Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise

  • Difficulty: easy
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A great party appetizer, easy to make, fun to eat

Ingredients

Artichokes

4 large Roman Artichokes (if you can find ones with their stems, better yet, the best part)

Extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon

Sea salt course grain

 

Directions

-Cut the Artichokes in half taking care to split the stem evenly, remove the outer hard leaves.

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-With a paring knife cut away the choke (the spiny part of the inside) being very careful not to cut away the heartIMG_1192

-Next, cut the top thorns of the leaves, the inside and top should look like the photo below

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-Place the cleaned artichokes in a pan with cold water and add a sliced lemon, this will prevent discoloration. IMG_1194.JPG

-Add the artichokes to a pot of cold salted water, bring to boil and boil for at least 10 minutes, testing the artichokes, they should be soft, but not be falling apart.

-With cooking tongs, carefully remove the Artichokes from the water and let drain

-Preheat a gas grill direct heat

-Place the artichokes on a tray and drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt

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On med/low direct heat, place the artichokes on the grill carefully with kitchen tongs leaf side down first, turn after 3-4 minutes onto the heart side and grill another 3-4 minutes until light golden brown being careful not to burn the artichoke

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-Place the artichokes on a platter with the lemon garlic mayonnaise, serve hot

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Buon Appetito!!

Mickey

 

Lemon and Baked Garlic Mayonnaise

  • Servings: 1 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

6 tbls mayonnaise (high quality)

2 tbls lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp sea salt course grain

2 tbls finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1 head of  garlic

fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Wrap the head of garlic in aluminum foil and either bake in the oven or place on the grill, bake until soft.

-Squeeze the garlic from the clove it should come out like a cream, use the quantity of baked cloves to tasteIMG_1201 2.JPG

-Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, ground pepper and parsley.  Stir until blendedIMG_1202 2.JPG

-Serve withGrilled Roman Artichokes with Lemon, Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bicolor Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes

We love this salad as a side to beef or chicken dishes.

Bicolor Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Love this salad with my Beef Paillard recipe, the perfect side

Ingredients

1 head of romaine lettuce

1/2 head of radicchio of Chioggia (round shaped)

10-12 small baby heirloom tomatoes

1 red onion or 2 knobby white onions

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil  (to taste)

1 tbls red or white wine vinegar (to taste)

sea salt fine

black pepper ground

Directions

-Clean and dry both lettuces chop or cut into bit sized pieces add to salad bowlIMG_1142.JPG

-Thinly slice the onions add to salad bowlimg_1143.jpg

-Wash and cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters (depending on the size) add to salad bowlIMG_1144.JPG

-season with salt and pepper to taste

-add oil and vinegar (note- this is also to taste, the above amounts are a guideline) toss well and serve

Buon Appetito!!

Mickey

 

Crunchy Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

A few weeks ago I was traveled to the south of France.  When there, I love going to this little Bistro in Nice where they make the best Scalloped Potatoes, served piping hot in individual mini cocottes.  I think I was able to come pretty close to replicating  this recipe, capturing the creamy marriage of the potatoes with butter and cream.  For sure this is a real diet breaker,  but every now and then, it is worth the splurge .  This is an easy side dish for special occasions.  For crowds, it is easier to make the recipe in a long casserole dish, but if you like, feel free to use little cocottes to give you the perfect cream to crunch ratio.

Crunchy Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

3 1/2 lbs potatoes (not baking)

1/4 lb unsalted butter

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk

Seasoned Salt i.e. Lawrys

Directions

-Peel the potatoes, with a cut proof glove using a Mandoline slicer on the finest blade slice all of the potatoes paper thin

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-Butter generously the bottom of a long casserole dish and layer the potatoes one x one slightly overlapping…this will take time but the end result is well worth it!

-After you have layered the first layer cut pieces of butter and distribute then salt the layer…..repeat these layers with potatoes, butter and salt until you are finished with the potatoesIMG_1049

-Once you have the last layer, pour the heavy cream and the milk over the entire dish and once again add butter to the top layer, evenly sprinkle the parmesan cheeseIMG_1050

-Preheat a 375 F oven, and bake at least 45 minutes….Please check since some ovens cook faster than others….the top should be bubbly and golden brown.

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Serve hot or at room temperature.

Buon Appetito!!

Mickey

 

 

Spring Fling, Russian Salad with Fresh Asparagus

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This dish takes asparagus and eggs to the next level.   Asparagus paired with a fresh vegetable, egg filled Russian Salad…. so tasty.  Mainly served as an appetizer, Russian salad, is a favorite here in Venice.  I thought it might be interesting served with seasonal asparagus.  Russian Salad also called Olivier Salad,  is a traditional Russian celebratory dish.  This salad  has become quite popular in Europe, there are many variations and each country has adopted their own version.  I  quite like the way the Venetians make their Insalata Russa.

Russian Salad with Fresh Spring Asparagus

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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This salad can be served year round,  alone or as a side to boiled shrimp or lobster.

Ingredients

10 carrots peeled and diced in 1/4″cubes (should yield approximately 3 cups)

2 large non starchy potatoes peeled and diced in 1/4″ cubes (should yield 3 cups)

2 cups of fresh peas shelled (use frozen if fresh are unavailable)

8 hard boiled eggs

1 cup of dill gherkins diced in 1/4″ cubes

1 1/2 to 2 cups of Mayonnaise  (high quality)

1 tsp dijon mustard

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

sea salt

salt and pepper to taste

2 large bunches of asparagus

Directions

-Peel and dice potatoes into 1/4″ size cubes,  slice the potatoes on the long side lay the potatoes flat on a cutting board and cut into cubesIMG_1031.JPG

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-Peel and cut the carrots along the length, lay the cut side down on a cutting board and cut again, then cut into 1/4′ cubesIMG_1033.JPG

-All items need to boil separately each has different cooking times

-In cold water add potatoes and course grain sea salt, bring to boil, after water comes to a boil time 10 minutes (note the potatoes need to retain their shape and NOT fall apart, so watch carefully, Please do not overcook them). Drain and let cool completely.

-In cold water add the carrots and sea salt, bring to boil and time 8 minutes noting the same not to overcook the carrots.  Drain and let cool completely.

-In cold water add the peas and sea salt you will need to test the peas but if fresh 10 minutes,  if frozen much shorter, also be careful not to overcook. Drain and let cool completely

-In a pot large enough for the eggs, bring water to a boil, add the eggs carefully into the water boil for 10 minutes.  Let cool and peel

-Dice egg whites into 1/4″ cubes separately chop the yokes

-Dice the dill gherkins in 1/4″ cubes

-It is important that all items cool and dry before mixing together

-In a bowl add mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper, mix well

-In a large mixing bowl add all of the cooked ingredients along with the dill gherkins, egg whites and yolks, mix in the mayonnaise, stir carefully , refrigerate until ready to use.  Can be made a day in advance.

-Cut the tough bottom end of the asparagus, with a vegetable peeler, peel the bottom rough outer layer, place the asparagus in cold water bring to boil.  Test for preferred doneness with a fork.  Carefully lift the asparagus out of the water let drain.

-With a pastry form in the center of a plate, fill with  Russian Salad, lay the asparagus alongside, lift the form and Voila!!  A Beautiful Spring Plate!!!

Buon Appetito !!

 

 

 

It’s Fry- day…..Crispy Crunchy Salted Fried Zucchini

I know of few Italian Restaurants in America that do not serve fried zucchini as an appetizer option.  I guess we all love zucchini, served hot and crunchy,  dipped in either a aioli or tomato sauce.  Well here is a recipe for fried zucchini that you can make at home.  If you like, serve the zucchini with a  simple tomato sauce .  We like it as is, salted with lemon wedges!!

Crispy Crunchy Salted Fried Zucchini

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Its easy to make and everyone will love it

Ingredients

4-6 medium to small zucchini

2 eggs

1 cup of flour

2 cups of breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil

Finishing salt

Directions

-Slice the zucchini lengthwise, as thin as possible

-On parchment paper or aluminum foil, or a prep board add the flour and the breadcrumbs

-Heat the oil in a high sided heavy bottom wok, pot or pan until you drop a tiny piece of breading and it fries actively

-In a shallow bowl or dish beat the eggsIMG_0133

-Dip the zucchini in the flour, the egg and then the breadcrumbs…. you can press the crumbs to the zucchini making sure to coat the zucchini well….set aside until the oil is ready and you have breaded all the zucchini

-Carefully add the zucchini to the hot oil, try not to overcrowd the pan….fry until golden brown

-With a Slotted flat spoon carefully remove from oil and place on a platter lined with paper towel.

-Salt with a finishing sea saltIMG_0130

-Best served hot

Buon Appetito!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meatless Monday….Greens and Beans Soup with Garlic Bread Croutons

If you grew up in an Italian American home, you probably have eaten or are  familiar with “Greens and Beans”.  The greens, escarole or Swisschard  are cooked in a garlicky oil mixed with white beans.  I have taken this dish one step further making it into a soup, topping it with a garlic Parmesan crouton. It is a filling flavorful soup for lunch or dinner on a Meatless Monday!!

Greens and Beans Soup with Garlic Parmesan Croutons

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A soupy version of a favorite, Green’s and Beans

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs a of cleaned chopped Swisschard or Escarole

4 cups Cannellini Beans ( not dried)

1 hot pepper chopped (note- peppers have different heat this is to taste)

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

4 scallions finely diced

2 garlic cloves finely diced

6 cups of vegetable broth

sea salt

pepper

For the bread

1 loaf  of crusty bread Italian

2 cloves of crushed garlic

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbls fresh flat leaf parsley chopped

3/4-1 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

-In a soup pot, add the olive oil, garlic, scallions and pepper sauté until garlic is lightly browned

-add the chopped greens, the beans and the brothIMG_0879

-add sea salt and pepper to taste

-bring to boil, and simmer for 35-45 minutes

Garlic Parmesan Croutons

-slice the bread in half or thirds depending on size

-in a prep bowl add olive oil and the crushed garlic stir

-with a pastry brush paint the bread with the oil mixture then dust with the parsleyIMG_0880

-Spread the Parmesan on the bread generously

-place the bread under the broiler until golden brown, let cool and cut into cubes

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-ladle the soup into bowls, add the Croutons and server

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Buon Appetito!!!

Split Pea Soup with Spring Onions and Thyme

Another favorite soup to welcome the season.  This Split pea soup  is a light vegetarian version, few ingredients,  easy to prepare and flavorful.  Great for lunch or dinner served with a sprig of fresh thyme… Spring is in the air!!!!

Split Pea Soup with Spring Onions and Fresh Thyme

  • Servings: 2-4
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A Fresh, light Springtime favorite

Ingredients

-1 cup of split peas

-2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

-1 garlic clove

-2 large carrots

-3 celery stalks

-4 spring onions

-2 scallions

-7 cups broth, vegetable or chicken

-course grind sea salt

-fresh ground pepper

-6 sprigs of fresh thyme

Directions

-In a deep soup pot add the olive oil, finely chop the spring onions, garlic and the scallions and add to the oil.  Saute on medium/low heat until the onions are translucent about 3-5 minutes careful not to burn.IMG_0837

-Dice the celery and carrotsIMG_0835

-add the chopped celery, carrots and the split peas to the onions

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Add the broth, sea salt, pepper and thyme cook simmer on a medium/low heat. (Note- unsoaked peas can take 1-2 hours to cook you need to watch the and maintain the broth level, if you presoak the peas cooking time is around 45 minutes.)    Cook the soup until the peas are soft to the bite.IMG_0843

-remove approximately 2 cups and blend with a immersion blender, mix the creamed soup back into the pot

-serve with a drizzle of olive oilIMG_0846

As always I look forward to your feedback!

Buon Appetito!!