Memorial Day Picnic “Italian American”Style!!

Coming up with a menu for the biggest summer picnic weekend in America can be daunting.   Well, I have some ideas for a Memorable, Memorial Weekend, ” Italian -American Style”.  Most of the recipes you have already seen and hopefully tried, on my blog.   Now,  let’s create the perfect menu for your Memorial Weekend Picnics.

Starters or Appetizers ideas

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Baby Caprese 

Tomatoes Basil Bruschetta

Grilled Artichokes

Crispy Cucumber Salad

Sides, Vegetables and Potatoes ideas

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Green beans with Balsamic glazed red onions

Chive and yogurt potato salad

Grilled Eggplant with herbs

Italian Bean Salad

 

 

Grilled Entree ideas

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Skewered Seasoned Veal Burgers

Tangy Spicy grilled Chicken

Shrimp and Swordfish kebobs

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Sun-dried Tomato kebobs

Thyme lemon simply grilled shrimp

I hope some of these ideas inspire your holiday weekend…

Welcome Summer!!!

Buon Appetito!!

Mickey

 

 

 

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Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Sundried Tomato Kabobs

Sun dried tomatoes, fresh oregano, garlic, lemons, and  virgin olive oil all remind me of the Mediterranean summers.  When I make this grilled chicken dish, I am transported to the  Sicilian Countryside at a outdoor bbq.  These kabobs are fast and easy to make, have lots of flavor and are great for your  summertime grilling.  Let’s cook!

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes Kabobs

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A flavorful Chicken recipe for summertime grilling

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Ingredients

1 1/2 lb skinless chicken breast

1/2-3/4 lb sun dried tomatoes ( in olive oil)

the juice of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons

1/2 tsp lemon peel

2 tbls fresh oregano

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

Sea salt course grain and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Cut the chicken into 2′ cubes add to a bowl

-add the olive oil, lemon juice, pressed garlic, oregano leaves, lemon peel, sea salt and pepper mix well and let rest for at least 1/2 hour

-alternate the sun dried tomatoes with the chicken on bbq skewers

-heat the gas grill, direct heat low, cook the chicken until golden brown on all sides

*you will notice I like my chicken well done!!

Serve

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

 

 

 

 

 

“Baby” Caprese

The Caprese Salad is one of the most popular Italian summer plates.   Beautiful ripe, red tomatoes sliced with buffalo or regular mozzarella cheese, topped with fresh green basil leaves then drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, delicious.  The Caprese, with it’s colors of the Italian flag, is easy to compose, a hit for summer lunches or dinners.   As much as I adore the traditional sliced version of this salad sometimes it is easier to serve this bite sized “Baby Caprese” Salad to your guests.  Lets Cook!

Baby Caprese

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

A bite sized version of the classic Italian Caprese Salad

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Ingredients

1 lb baby plum or cherry tomatoes

1/2 lb fresh mozzarella regular or Buffalo  *try to find the small round mozzarella balls

10 large basil leaves

2 tbls imported extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

Directions

-Wash and dry the tomatoes, cut into quarters and add to a serving bowl

-if using the tiny mozzarella balls, cut into 1/4 or 1/8 pieces depending on the size (if using a large mozzarella, cut into pieces more or less the size of your tomatoes, add to serving bowl

-stack the basil, roll it lengthwise and slice it thinly across the width, add to the bowl

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-add sea salt, generously to taste

-add olive oil and mix

Serve

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

Italian Bean Salad

This lovely, easy bean salad can be made in minutes, great as a side for your  Summer BBQ’s.   We use Barlotti or Cranberry beans for our version of this salad, but any cooked bean will do.   If you want more “Italian flair”, add a can of high quality imported tuna.  This salad, along with crusty, Italian Bread grilled with garlic and olive oil, a glass of chilled white wine….. now we are talking.  Let’s cook!

Italian Bean Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: super-easy
  • Print

Easy and can be made ahead of time

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Ingredients

1 large red onion or 4 spring onions (I used 4 red knobby (tropea) onions) to taste

3.5 cups of Cranberry Beans or your bean of choice

4 Tbls extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbls high quality white wine vinegar

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

1/2 chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions

-Drain the beans of their liquid, place in a serving bowl

-Slice the onions as thin as possible, the thinner the better, separate the rings, add to the bowl

-chop fresh basil, add to the beans and onions

-Add sea salt and pepper to taste

-Add olive oil, and vinegar mix well

*if adding tuna mix into the bean, onion mixture

Serve

Buon appetito!!

Mickey

 

 

 

 

Onion Soup with Two toppings, Savory Cheese Bread or Classic Toast Topping

Two things you need when making Onion Soup, lots of onions and lots of time . Today I am making a Onion Soup and serving it with two different  toppings.  The first, is the classic version, with it’s crusty, cheesy French bread, the second version is with a large savory, thyme scented gruyere cheese bread crouton.  Give them both a try.   Lets Cook!

Onion Soup with Two Toppings

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The longer the onions cook and caramelize the deeper the flavor

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Ingredients

For the soup:

1/4 stick of butter

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

2 lbs of yellow onions

1/2 lb scallions

1 tsp sugar

1 cup of dry white wine

6 cups of broth (vegetable or beef)

1 tbls flour

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

For the Savory Cheese Bread:

1 lb grated gruyere cheese

1 cup of all purpose flour

2 tbls baking powder

1 tsp salt

8 large eggs

1 tbls finely chopped fresh thyme

For the Classic

Loaf of Crusty Italian or French bread

Grated Gruyere Cheese approximately 1/4 lb per ramekin (to liking)

Directions

-Peel and slice all the onions and scallions as thin as possibleIMG_1309.JPG

-In a soup pot, add the butter, olive oil and on a low heat cook the onions for 20 minutes until they become soft stirring often you do not want the onions to brown, add the sugar and continue to cook on low heat for at least another 25-30 minutes.fullsizeoutput_48

When the onions start to caramelize (turn a golden brown) add the white wine, turning up the heat, add the flour, stirring until it is mixed and dissolved into the liquid

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-Add the broth, salt and pepper to taste, continue cooking on low heat for another 10-15 minutes

-Serve with French bread or Crouton topping; both recipes below

Gruyere French Bread

Spoon the soup into an ovenproof ramekins, cut the baguette into 1- 1 1/2 ” slices (for a crunchier version) lightly toast the bread on both sides, (softer version) place the sliced  bread directly onto the hot soup, grate the cheese directly onto the bread  place the ramekin under the broiler watching closely as you melt the cheese to golden brownIMG_1323.JPG

Savory Cheese Bread Crouton

-Butter a Jelly roll pan and cover with parchment paper

-In a bowl add cheese, eggs, baking powder, salt, thyme and flour, mix well

-Pour and spread mixture onto the jelly roll panIMG_1313

-Bake in pre-heated 350F oven for 20-25 minutes (convection) the bread should be golden brown and an inserted toothpick should come out clean

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-With a pastry ring, cut into large circular croutons, place onto hot soup

 

-Serve the Onion Soup with either the Savory Cheese Croutons or the Classic French Bread and Cheese

Buon Appetito!!

Mickey

 

Cucumber Radish Herb Crunch

A recipe example of “Less is More”.  I am amazed that something so simple can be so good.  I make versions of this Crunch all summer long, everyone loves it.   The first time I tried this salad was at the home of a friend, she served just cucumbers and herbs to accompany our aperitivi, what a great idea!!  This is a fun way to use all the herbs from your garden all summer long,  try it!!

Cucumber Radish Herb Crunch

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

Letting the veggies sit in the lemon herb salt for at least an hour increases the flavor

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Ingredients

3 large English style seedless cucumbers or 5 firm long homegrown cucumbers

10-12 large radishes

Herbs of choice  mint, basil, parsley, thyme, oregano.  chopped yielding at least 1 cup

Sea Salt 2 heaping tablespoons course grind (*Salt is our friend in this recipe…..the salt is the most important component but it must be Sea Salt Course grind)

2-3 large lemons or lemons and limes

Directions

-Peel and Cut the cucumbers, if seedy scoop away the seedy area cut into finger size pieces

-Clean radishes and cut into halves or quarters

-Add vegetables to a bowl, add the juice of your lemons, limes or combination of both

-Add salt

-Chop together all your herbs and toss them into the bowl with the cucumbers and radishes

-Let sit in or out of the refrigerator

-Serve as snack or as a salad

Shrimp and Swordfish Lemon Mustard Kabobs…Fish on Friday!!

Its time to fire up the grill!  When entertaining friends and family this summer try this recipe, it is easy, fast and  makes a great impression.  The shrimp and swordfish are skewered together after marinading in a mustard lemon thyme sauce.   What is great  about this dish it can be made ahead of time, it is as good  at room temperature as it is hot off the grill.  I am serving mine kabobs with  Cucumber Herb Crunch and  Russian Salad  (both on the blog).  Pour a crisp glass of white wine and your all set….Let’ cook!!

Shrimp Swordfish Kabobs with Lemon Mustard Thyme Marinade

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Once your shrimp are cleaned and deveined marinate for an hour, the kabobs will cook in 10-15 minutes

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Ingredients

2 lbs of shrimp (medium size) peeled and deveined

1 lb of Swordfish cut into cubes

2 lemons

2 tbls Dijon mustard

2 garlic cloves pressed

fresh thyme sprigs, at least 2 tbls

Salt seasoning i.e. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or Montreal Chicken Seasoning McCormick’s to taste

fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Clean, peel and devein the shrimp, cut the swordfish into bite sized cubes and add both to a bowl.fullsizeoutput_3f.jpeg

-Add, the juice of 2 lemons, the dijon mustard, garlic, thyme, salt mixture and fresh ground pepper stir well and let sit for at least 1 hourfullsizeoutput_40.jpeg

-Skewer the shrimp and swordfish, retain the marinade

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-Heat the grill,  when hot ,place the kabobs on the grate, on low direct heat grill until golden on each side.  The reserve marinade can be brushed on during cooking. Approximately 5 minutes per side.

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-Place on a platter and serve

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

Bruschetta with Tomatoes

Everyone needs to have this in their recipe boxes.  Bruschetta, this  one, topped with tomatoes (the CH is pronounced like SK,  please!!).  A grilled piece of garlic rubbed Italian style bread topped with chopped fresh tomatoes.  Yesterday, for Mother’s Day, I served it along with  baby buffalo mozzarella balls as an appetizer, it was a big hit!  I like making it early in the day so the tomatoes become flavored with the garlic, olive oil and basil.  Lets cook!!

Bruschetta with Tomatoes and Basil

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
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Always good to have this as a go to recipe, put it in your recipe boxes

Ingredients

2 lbs of ripe plum tomatoes (* I used Piccadilly tomatoes)

2 large cloves of garlic peeled

4 tbls extra virgin olive oil (Imported)

Sea Salt course ground

1 cup fresh basil leaves chopped

for the bread:

12 large slices of Italian style crusted bread

3 tbls olive oil

2 cloves garlic crush

 

Directions

  • Rinse the tomatoes, cut them in quarters then chop into even sized pieces, place in a serving bowl
  • Add the olive oil, generously add sea salt to taste
  • Cut the garlic in quarters and add the pieces (*if they are visible you can remove them before serving)
  • toss in the basil
  • Let sit at room temperature, the tomatoes will breakdown a bit, and the flavors will develop.

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For the bread

-Heat grill pan, gas grill or the oven broiler

-In a small bowl, add the olive oil and the crushed garlic, mix

-With a pastry brush, lightly brush one side of the bread with the garlic oil and grill.  Grill or broil the bread watch it carefully it browns very fast, brown both sides of the bread

-Serve the bread oil side up and spoon the tomatoes with their juices onto the breadfullsizeoutput_3e

-Enjoy

 

Buon Appetito

Mickey

 

 

Chive Potatoes with Greek Yogurt

Here is a light take on a favorite summer side, Potato Salad.   A Meatless Monday recipe that also works for summer cookouts , these potatoes are easy to prepare, light and healthy.    I love adding lots of fresh chives, they add an light oniony crunch along with a beautiful dark green contrast.   Pack your picnic basket with, Chive potatoes,  Tangy Grilled Chicken Tenders in a Garlic, Basil Lemon Oil Marinade or Thyme-burgers  and your ready for Summer.  Lets cook!!

Chive Potatoes with Greek Yogurt

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Light and Healthy version of a Summer favorite

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Ingredients

8 large potatoes or 16 small potatoes

2 containers of plain greek yogurt (* I used 0% fat)

3/4 cups of chopped fresh chives

Sea salt fine and course grain and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

  • Scrub the potatoes, put them in a pot, add cold water, course sea salt, bring to boil.  Depending on the size, potato cooking time will be 10-15 minutes after water boils. The potatoes are cooked when a knife inserts easily. Drain and let cool.
  • When potatoes are cool , peel (optional), slice into large bite size chunks, place in a large bowl
  • Add the yogurt, salt (fine) generously to taste and fresh ground pepper
  • Add the chives and mix wellFullSizeRender 14
  • Serve at room temperature

 

Buon Appetito !!

Mickey

 

 

 

Saltimbocca alla Romana

Saltimbocca  which literally means “Jumps in the mouth”, is a Roman dish.  I love making these  pretty little prosciutto  and sage covered veal delights.  Fast and easy to make, they are great to serve for guests and so visually inviting …Lets cook!!

Saltimbocca Alla Romana

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
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Let these little delights jump into your mouth!!

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs of veal scallopini style cutlets

1/2 lb thinly sliced imported prosciutto  (Parma or San Danieli)

1 cup of dry white wine

Large Sage Leaves (enough to adequately cover each piece of veal)

Extra virgin olive oil

Butter

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Using either plastic wrap or parchment paper,lay the pieces of veal on the paper leaving space for the veal to expand, cover with another layer of paper,  using a meat pounder, pound out the veal,  careful not to tear the meat

-Lay the prosciutto on top of the veal, cover the entire surface

-Lay a large sage leaf on top of the prosciutto, recover with the parchment and lightly pound to flatten the three items,  using a toothpick, secure the sage leaf thru the prosciutto and veal.  *note- feel free to use more that one sage leaf per surface,  I like to cut the veal in two, if the scallops are long so each piece has one large sage leafIMG_1264

-In a skillet, on medium heat, drizzle the olive oil, add a knob of butter, heat until butter starts to lightly foam, add the veal, prosciutto side down, (this will flavor the pan and lightly render the prosciutto ) lightly brown, then,  turn and brown the other sideIMG_1269.JPG

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-As you are cooking off the veal, place the cooked veal on a platter until you finish cooking all the pieces

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-When all the veal is browned and resting on a platter, add the wine to deglaze the pan, scrape the bottom to remove all the brown bits, add pepper, cook to reduce the sauce, then carefully place the veal back into the pan to rewarm with the reduced sauce

-Serve and enjoy

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Buon Appetito!

Mickey