Tomato Soup on “Meatless Monday”

I love all kinds of tomato soups, even the kind in the can!   Smooth and creamy tomato soup is fast and easy to make.  This soup can be “accessorized” with garnishes like my cheese bread croutons, creme fraiche, or even some baked bacon bits with chopped hard boiled eggs.  This is a versatile soup, it can be eaten piping hot or at room temperature.  Any way you like to eat your Tomato Soup,  here is a good, easy recipe to try.  Let’s Cook!

Tomato Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A fast, easy recipe for an all time favorite soup

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Ingredients

2 large cans, 12 oz plum tomatoes with juices (note, I used San Marzano)

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 celery stalks chopped

2 sweet onions

1 small red onion

4 garlic cloves

2 tsp  sugar

2 cups water

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

small piece of fresh hot pepper (optional)

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

thyme sprigs to taste

Sea salt course grain and fresh ground pepper to taste

heavy cream (optional)

Directions

-In a medium size soup pot, add the olive oil, garlic, and chopped onions, lightly brown the garlic with the onions stirring, careful not to burn the garlic. (If adding heat add in the hot pepper here).

-Add the chopped carrots, celery and the plum tomatoes with their juices.

-Add the water, sugar, salt, pepper, basil and thyme

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-Stir together, allow to simmer for at least 35-40 until all the vegetables (carrots and celery) are soft

-Using an immersion blender, or regular blender (in batches) blend until creamy and smooth

-Adjust salt

-If adding heavy cream stir in now

-Serve plain with Savory Cheese Bread croutons,  creme fraiche,  bacon and hardboiled egg or just with a sprig of fresh thyme

Buon Appetito!!

Mickey

 

 

 

 

“French Onion” Potato Salad

Hi everyone, I am sure lots of my American friends are getting ready for their Father’s Day BBQ’s.  Today, I have a recipe for a potato salad that we made on my recent visit to Pittsburgh, it was so tasty we made it twice!!  You might want to add it to your menu for tomorrow.  It is easy and really, really good, it reminds me of a big bowl of potato chips with French onion dip, only lighter….Let’s cook!!

French Onion Potato Salad with Yogurt

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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A light non mayo potato salad with lots of flavor

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Ingredients

5 lb of new potatoes, note I used 25-30 little potatoes

5 medium sweet onions

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

3/4-1 cup fresh flat leaf Italian Parsley chopped

3 cups plain greek yogurt i.e. Fage

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Wash and scrub the potatoes, add to a large pot fill with cold water add sea salt and bring to boil, cook for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the potato.  A knife should be easily inserted when cooked, drain and let cool

-When potatoes are cool enough to handle peel and cut into quarters or eights, depending on the size of your potatoes, you will want large bite size pieces add to a large serving bowl

-While potatoes are cooking, peel and thinly slice your onions, cut the slices in half and add to a skillet, add olive oil and cook on a low heat, the goal is to gently cook the onions until they lightly start to caramelize.  Be patient with your onions allow them to cook slowly, you do not want them to burn.  When they are a light golden brown, take them off the heat and add them to the potatoesIMG_0226.JPG

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-Add the salt,  pepper and the parsley

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Add the yogurt and mix well.  Taste to adjust the salt

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Serve and enjoy

Bon 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
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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
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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

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
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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

 

 

 

“Meatless Monday…Mixed bean, Leek, Carrot and Celery Soup with Baby Pasta

After a fun filled weekend of eating and drinking, its nice to enjoy a comforting soup that is filled with vegetables and protein.  This Bean Leek Soup is the perfect meal for a light and healthy  “Meatless Monday” lunch or dinner.

Mixed Bean, Leek, Carrot and Celery Soup with Baby Pasta

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

2 large leeks cut lengthwise in half and chopped

2 cups chopped celery

3 cups chopped carrots

2 cloves of garlic chopped

2 Tbls extra virgin olive oil

1/2 mild hot pepper

6 cups of vegetable broth

2 cups of Cranberry or Pinto Beans canned, drained

2 cups of Cannellini Beans canned, drained (note….this is a rare exception  using canned beans, try to use  high quality beans)

3 Tbls chopped fresh mixed herbs, thyme, basil and flat leaf parsley

1/2 lb small pasta i.e. Ditalini Rigati

Parmesan Cheese to taste

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions

-Add olive oil, garlic and hot pepper lightly brown

-Add leeks, stirring into the garlic mixture, saute leeks until they start to soften and the flavors meldIMG_1090.JPG

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-When the leeks soften add the celery and carrotsIMG_1094.JPG

Add Both beans, sea salt to taste and fresh ground pepperIMG_1124.JPG

Add the broth and mixed herbsIMG_1125.JPG

-Bring mixture to boil, lower heat and simmer (low boil) for at least 45 minutes

-Bring a small pot of water to boil, add pasta and cook al dente…. at least 1 minute less than time indicated. (note- I do not boil the pasta in the soup broth since it will absorb the liquid ) Drain the pasta

-Remove 3 cups of the soup mixture and place in a mixing bowl, with an immersion blender, blend mixture until smooth and creamyIMG_1127.JPG

-Pour blended mixture back into the soup pot

-Add the pasta to the SoupIMG_1128.JPG

-Serve hot or tepid with Parmesan Cheesefullsizeoutput_26

Buon Appetito!!

Mickey

 

 

Easter Lunch…Herb Stuffed Pork Loin Roast with Pancetta

With a few weeks until Easter,  it’s time to start thinking about what to serve for  lunch or dinner.  This Herb stuffed roast is a great choice.  I  have such a hard time finding the right recipe for Easter, since Ennio and I don’t eat lamb, and most main dishes are  lamb based, especially in Italy.   Trying to stay seasonal,  I usually make a roast of Pork or Veal, another of my options , salmon baked or steamed with a lemon mayonnaise.  This Herb Stuffed Pork Loin is wonderful  an option for this Easter.  If you do not like Pork, you can easily substitute a Veal roast.  Enjoy!!

 

Herb Stuffed Pork Loin Roast with Pancetta (Bacon)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe

Lovely roast and makes a great presentation for Easter or a dinner party

Ingredients

Pork loin roast (mine was 1 1/2 lbs)

1 onion finely diced

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

Fresh herbs- thyme, rosemary, parsley and sage to yield 3/4 cup chopped finely mixed together

2-3 Tbls Extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lb pancetta or center cut bacon ( if you can get thinly sliced better yet)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

-Make 1 to 1 1/2″ incision into the pork loin along the length

-Finely chop the herbs togetherIMG_0918.JPG

-Stuff the herbs into the incision you just made in the roastIMG_0920

-Lay the pancetta or bacon along the top of the roast covering completely the herb toppingIMG_0922

-Tie the roast with kitchen string  (note- I would be an awful butcher…..the way I tie a roast, any tips would be greatly appreciated!!)IMG_0923

-Add the olive oil and chopped onion to a dutch oven style pan (I like my Le Creuset)  lightly brown the onions, be careful not to burn the onions, then add the roast and begin to brown on all sides.

-When browned, remove the roast and deglaze the pan with wine, making sure to scrape all the crusty bits off the bottom and sides of the panIMG_0924IMG_0926

-Put the roast back into the liquid and cook on low heat covered for 1 to 1 1/2 hours watching the liquid (note- if the liquid dries add water) you can turn the roast so it browns on all sides.

-Remove the roast allow it to set up so you can cut in thinly without it breaking into pieces

-Slice and PlateIMG_0930

-Add the pan juices and serveFullSizeRender 2

Buon Appetito!!!!

As always love to hear feedback, suggestions……!!

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!!