all sorts of recipes, from me to you…

Friday, July 31, 2015

Stuffed Cucumbers ~ the 2nd Time Around

Thanks to Alice, my late mother-in-law, it’s the same old question every summer:
“When are you making stuffed cucumbers?”

The truth is, it’s my pleasure to make the dish, I enjoy cooking it, and I wouldn’t dream of not making stuffed cucumbers!

1 this cucbowl
My MIL introduced me to stuffed cucumbers many years ago; I posted it over 5 years ago, way back here ~ it begged to be posted again, it’s that good! 

A little time consuming, it might be, but it’s easy, not a plethora of ingredients; with the results amazing you, making your diners happy to be around your table.

To start, peel the cucumbers, and removed the seeds carefully.  Let them soak in salt water while you tend to the rest of the recipe.

Meatcucsbowl
I used canned tomatoes, incorporate fresh tomatoes from your garden, if you wish.  
Add chopped onions, seasonings and a touch of brown sugar to cut the acidity.  
Simmer on medium-low heat while stuffing cucumbers.

Cucsinpan
This time, to season the meat, I used McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Seasoning, plus a sprinkling of ground basil.  This was the best, all the meat needed, and I will be doing that from now on!

Stuff the cucumbers with the meat, place in the sauce and simmer until transparent.

Cucsinpanwwmeatballs
A perfect summertime meal to us, with a crusty bread and a salad of mesclun greens ~ I’m hoping you give it a go ~ and like it too!

Stuffed Cucumbers

Ingredients:
6 cucumbers, ends cut off and peeled

For the sauce:
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomates
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Ingredients for the meat:
3 pounds extra-lean ground beef*
4 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 teaspoons dried basil

Method:
Peel cucumbers, cut off ends until you can see the seeds; carefully scoop out seeds with a knife, without cutting through meat of cucumber.
Add 1 teaspoon of salt to water in a large bowl.
Add cucumbers and let soak for 30 minutes or so (while you make the sauce and meat.)
In a large pot, add tomato products, onion, brown sugar and salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer while preparing meat and cucumbers, stirring occasionally.
Combine ground beef and seasonings for the stuffing and meatballs.
Drain cucumbers.
Stuff cucumbers carefully with the meat.
Place stuffed cucumbers in tomato sauce.
Cook on medium-low heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the cucumbers are slightly transparent, stirring occasionally. (Cooked too long, the cucumbers will break apart.)
Serve stuffed cucumbers in a bowl with a couple of meatballs.
*Use less meat if you do not want meatballs.

ENJOY!

 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Blackberry Cobbler



 Tell me, what’s your summertime little guilty pleasure?  Share with me ~ I’ll keep it a secret! 

One of mine is fresh homemade Blackberry Cobbler!

BBriesand ice cream
The juicy blackberries had my name written on them when I saw them at the farmer’s market yesterday ~ I knew exactly what to do with them ~ cobbler!

BB bowl
BB baked
The plump bites of tartness sweetened up with a little sprinkling of sugar; depending upon sweetness of berries, plus a touch of lemon zest and cinnamon.  Baked over the berries, is a simple homemade biscuit cobbler topping.   It’s easy to pull together and a perfect little dessert for anyone. 

We enjoy blackberry cobbler warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream ~ it’s oh so delicious!  

Pure bliss…


Blackberry Cobbler

For the berries:

4 cups fresh blackberries
¼ to ⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1½ tablespoons instant tapioca

For the cobbler topping:

3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method:

In a 9” x 9” baking dish, combine berries, sugars, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and cornstarch, combine well.
Let berries set for 30 minutes to macerate.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bow, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 
Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or 2 knives, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Make a well in the center and stir in milk and beaten egg until just moistened, do not over-stir.
By large spoonfuls, place mounds of dough over the berries in the baking dish.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and a golden brown.
Serve warm or room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

ENJOY!

 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Potato Salad

I’ve made a lot of potato salads over the years, usually going back to this one ~ or close to it.

Ptatosalad

This is our favorite, loaded with sweet pickles, celery, red onion, pimentos, black olive slices, and Miracle Whip with a dab of mustard.  

It’s a summer standard to go with most any meat or seafood from the grill.

Jarspotsaladwjars

Potato salad is the perfect side ~ it’s simple, easy and just like the potato salad our mom’s used to make.  

Here’s the recipe:

Summer Potato Salad

Ingredients:

6 red potatoes, peeled and cut in half
⅓ cup sweet pickles, chopped
¾ cup celery, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
¼ cup black olives, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped pimientos, drained
1 cup Miracle Whip
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed
Salt and seasoned pepper, to taste

Method:

Boil potatoes until tender; drain well and cool.
Cube cooled potatoes and place in a large bowl.
Add pickles, celery, onion, black olives and pimientos, combine.
Add remaining ingredients and toss lightly to mix.
Arrange a few olive slices on top for garnish, if desired.
Place in refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight to chill.
6 servings

ENJOY!

 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Shrimp Fra Diavolo


To Italians, it’s Shrimp Fra Diabolo, “Brother Devil,” due to the heat from red pepper flakes.  Simply put, it’s spicy shrimp with onions and tomatoes in a garlic wine sauce.

Platedshrimp
No rich creamy oily heavy sauce here; this sauce is light, but a little fiery.  
After reading comments about Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe, I adapted it a little and kicked it up a notch with Old Bay Seasoning, an extra teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and a sprinkling of sugar to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes.  Don't know why I just can’t leave a recipe alone…

Shrimpinpans
Spicy is a good thing ~ this little dish delivers with a bang.  

And, Woo Hoo!  Bill is liking spicy more and more.  Most people serve this over pasta, I opted for rice; polenta would be delicious too.  

This is a great shrimp dish that’s easy to make for a quick meal after a busy day, that’s good enough for company too.

I say it’s “molto delizioso!”


Shrimp Fra Diavolo
Adapted

Ingredients:

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional as needed
2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons Old Bay Garlic and Herb Seasoning
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, sliced
1 (14½-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup dry white wine
3 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ teaspoon dried oregano flakes
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Method:

Toss shrimp in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes and Old Bay Seasoning.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add shrimp and sauté for a minute, toss and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1-2 minutes.
Transfer shrimp to a large plate, set aside.
Add remaining oil to skillet.
Add onion, sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes with their juice, sugar, wine, garlic and oregano.
Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
Return shrimp and any accumulated juice to the tomato mixture, and cook for a minute  so the flavors meld together.
Stir in parsley, season with more salt, to taste.
4 servings

Bon Appetito!



 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cocoa-Chile-Rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin

We know cocoa powder is generally used in desserts; however, occasionally, I’ve added it to savory dishes with wonderful results.  


Unsweetened cocoa adds a deep flavor to meat, particularly, when it is combined with chili powder, in a dry spice rub.  To that mix, add a little cinnamon, brown sugar and seasonings to coat pork tenderloin.  I let it stand for about an hour, but for even more flavor, coat the meat and refrigerate it overnite.

Rub
I saw this recipe on CHOW, and Bill and I were amazed with how good it turned out.  I adapted the recipe slightly, omitting cumin, as that’s one spice not bought, nor used here.  The spicy rub is easy, has a nice deep color for the pork and tastes scrumptious!  I will be repeating this soon!

Cocoa-Chile-Rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Adapted
Ingredients for the spice rub:

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine; set aside.

For the tenderloins:

2 (1 to 1½ pounds) pork tenderloins
1-2 tablespoons oil

Method:

Trim pork of any silver skin and pat dry with paper towels.
Using your hands, rub the tenderloins all over with the oil.
Sprinkle them with all of the spice mixture, and rub until evenly coated.
Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Heat grill to medium.  If the meat has been refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
Place tenderloin on grill, cover grill and cook, turning every 5 minutes, until the pork is browned all over and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145 to 150 degrees, about 20-30 minutes.
Transfer pork tenderloins to a cutting board and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Cut crosswise into ½” thick slices and serve.
4-6 servings

ENJOY!

 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Garlic-Butter Marinated Grilled Cod


I know it’s grilling season here, but please!  It’s in the 50’s and the heat is on in our house right now.  But grilling goes on here almost daily, because who knows, it might be snowing next week at this rate!  Now for the fish:

Fish doesn’t require a long time to marinate ~ a 30-minute soak is sufficient.

And, if you’re looking for a great marinade, look no further, as this one, with its simple ingredients is delicious.


Cod

Redolent with butter, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar and red pepper flakes, this is a piquant marinade for cod.  It bursts with flavor and is impressive with little effort.  

It’s just the thing to grill when you can’t think of what else to cook!
Hope you like it!

Garlic-Butter Marinated Grilled Cod

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
4 cod fillets

Method:

In a saucepan, heat all ingredients, except cod, over medium heat.
Cool mixture and pour into resealable plastic bag.
Add cod, and let marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Place fillets on medium-hot grill and grill 5 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. 
Serve with lemon slices, if desired.

ENJOY!

 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Grilled Tequila Citrus and Jalapeño Chicken


Get your grill going!
 Because ~ this grilled chicken will make your mouth water!


This zesty chicken is marinated in tequila, lime, and pineapple juices, with a good dose of garlic and minced jalapeño, providing additional seasoning.  
The marinade tenderizes the chicken, making it moist and flavor-packed.  It’s a perfect marinade that’s not as hot and spicy as it sounds.


 
You can’t go wrong with this mix of ingredients ~ the chicken is bursting with flavor and is summer BBQing at its best!  

Serve with buttered corn on the cob to make it even more enjoyable!

Speaking of corn on the cob, growing up on the farm, we always called it “sweet corn,” and sweet it is now!  Am I the only one who thinks it is way much “sweeter” now than it used to be??? 


Grilled Tequila Citrus and Jalapeño Chicken

Ingredients:

¼ cup tequila
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup pineapple juice 
1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts

Method:

Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a large resealable bag, add chicken, seal bag and turn to coat.
Refrigerate, turning bag occasionally, for up to 4 hours.
Preheat grill to medium heat.
Place chicken on grill rack and grill until cooked through, and juices run clear. 

ENJOY!