Tuesday, April 27, 2010

If Ronald McDonald was Italian...

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my brother came to town and I made polenta cakes. Well I had to come up with some ideas for what to do with the leftovers. You have already seen Grilled Polenta Cakes with Bruschetta Topping here is what I did with the last couple of polenta cakes. Egg McMuffins Italian style.

Egg McPolenta
1 fried egg
1 slice fresh mozzarella
1 slice of tomato, 2 if you are using Roma tomatoes
1 slice prosciutto
1 polenta cake, I cut the cake in half so I had a top and bottom "bun" but only ended up eating 1 of the pieces
1 tsp olive oil

This recipe is for one serving just multiply it by the number of people you are serving.

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick frying pan, over medium heat. Add the polenta cake pieces and heat through. Remove and set aside while you fry the egg. To keep the egg the shape of the polenta I cracked it into a round cookie cutter a little smaller than then polenta cake. Spray the cookie cutter with non-stick spray for easy removal. After egg is fried place prosciutto on polenta then mozzarella, tomato and egg.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Grilled Asian Seafood

Grilled Asian Seafood
12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 scallops
juice of 2 limes
1 tbs sesame oil
2 tsp sesame seeds

Put the seafood, lime juice and sesame oil in a resealable bag and set it aside for 15 minutes but not longer than 30 minutes. Toss them on the grill and cook until done, about 4 to 5 minutes. I like to put small things on 2 skewers to make them easy to turn. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and plate.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Grilled Polenta Cakes with Bruschetta Topping

My brother, Bob, came to visit me this past weekend. He wanted me to recreate the dinner that I blogged about when I went to Paula's from Bell' Alimento for a cooking lesson. Now what do you do with leftover polenta cakes? I narrowed my options down to grilling them or putting frosting on them setting them on a paper plate and leaving them in the break room at work. The second would have been funnier but I am glad I went with the first. I think my co-workers are glad I opted for the first option as well.

Grilled Polenta Cakes with Bruschetta Topping

Tomato Topping
2 tomatoes, cut into a small dice
2 tbs Kalamata olives, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 basil leaves, cut into fine ribbons
Olive oil to cover the mixture

Polenta Cakes
Preheat the grill to medium high.
Make a batch of Paula's Polenta Cakes right up to the point where you you get the saute pan.
Take the polenta cakes and put them on a well oiled grill, to prevent them from sticking. Cook until polenta has good grill marks and then flip and repeat.
Top each polenta cake with the tomato mixture.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Grilled Chicken Caprese

I have a new food obsession. My brother wanted my old treadmill and wanted to know what I would charge him for it. I think my answer surprised him, dried Michigan cherries. I became addicted to these while in MI in January. I now have 20 pounds of dried cherries, anybody got any good dried cherry recipes?

While my brother was here I took him to an Italian restaurant food supplier that is open to the public. Of course I had to stock up on a few things including fresh mozzarella. Here is one of the recipes I came up with.

Grilled Chicken Caprese
This recipe is per person as it is easy to double, triple, quadruple, etc.
1 chicken breast, cut 3/4 of the way through, so it opens like a book
1 slice fresh mozzarella. you may have to cut in half and place end to end if you have a narrow chicken breast
1 slice of tomato, you may have to cut in half and place end to end if you have a narrow chicken breast
Basil leaves to lay on top of mozzarella
Olive oil to drizzle on breast
Salt and pepper

Preheat grill to medium high.

Drizzle olive oil on the breasts and sprinkle with salt and pepper. On one side of the cut breast put the mozzarella piece(s), tomato piece(s) and basil. Preheat grill to medium high.

Drizzle olive oil on the breasts and sprinkle with salt and pepper. On one side of the cut breast put the mozzarella piece(s), tomato piece(s) and basil. Fold other half of breast over the side with ingredients. Grill until meat is cooked to the desired doneness. Enjoy!

The next post will be the polenta cake in the picture next to the Grilled Caprese Chicken.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Berry Tart My Easter Dessert

This year Easter was going to be a little strange for my wife and I. None of our 3 children would be home for Easter, our first childless holiday in 26 years. But then out of the blue we get an email from my best friend from college. She is bringing her husband, 2 children and one of their friends to Durham to check out colleges and they wanted to get together for dinner. So I got to make a big Easter dinner after all. Our dessert was this berry tart. I made it several years ago and it was very good. The recipe os from Perfect Light Desserts by Nick Malgieri, yes he wrote a healthy cookbook.

Berry Tart

Sweet Pastry Crust

1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbs unsalted butter, cold and cut into 6 pieces
1 large egg
1 tbs cold water

Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to mix ingredients.

Add butter and pulse 12 times.

Add the egg and water and pulse until dough forms a ball.

Pour dough onto a floured surface.

Form the dough into a disk. Then wrap it in plastic.

Refrigerate for 3 hours to 3 days. You can use immediately but dough will be a little soft.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Before you use the dough unwrap it and gently knead it on a floured surface. Then form it into a disk again and roll it out into a 11 to 12 inch disk. Transfer to a 8 or 9 inch fluted tart pan. Press on bottom and sides and cut off any excess dough.

Poke holes in bottom of tart with a fork, about every 1/2 inch. Place tart on center rack and bake for 15 minutes, or until it just starts to turn golden brown. Do not over bake or crust becomes very hard.

Cool tart on a rack.

Pastry Cream Filling

1 cup fat-free milk, I usually use 1%
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbs all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs unsalted butter, softened

Combine the milk and 1/2 of the sugar in a small nonreactive saucepan. Bring to boil over low heat. Combine rest of sugar and the flour in a small mixing bowl and whisk together to mix. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. When the milk boils whisk in 1/3 of the egg mixture. Return the rest of the mixture to a boil. Whisking constantly add the rest of the egg mixture in a slow steady stream. Keep whisking until the pastry cream thickens and comes to a boil with large bubbles bursting at the surface. Whisk for 20 seconds longer and remove from heat. Add the vanilla and the butter. Pour the filling into a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the cream so a film does not form. Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the tart.

Finishing the Tart

3 1/2-pints of raspberries or a mixture of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries
2 tbs powdered sugar

Pour the cream in the tart shell and spread evenly. Arrange the berries on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Berry Tart

This recipe coming later this week