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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mini Peach Tarts

Here's another recipe perfect for the seasonal produce right now. Peaches are just reaching their juicy peak. It was pretty tough to decide what to make. I love peach cobbler and peach pie. But, I decided to take the fast and simple route with this one and it worked out great. I mean, you really can't go wrong with puff pastry!
Mini Peach Tarts
Makes: 4 servings

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 medium peaches
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp orange juice

  • Leaving the skins on, slice the peaches into 1/8" thick slices. You want them to be very thin so that they'll actually cook in the short cooking time required for puff pastry.
  • Toss the peaches with the sugar and flour. Set aside.
  • Roll out the puff pastry and cut it into 4 even squares using either a sharp knife or a pizza cutter.
  • Place the puff pastry on a lightly greased baking sheet. With a fork, poke holes around the edges, about 1/2" in from the sides.

  • Top the squares with the peach mixture. You can either place the peaches on there carefully in a pattern or just heap them on there for a more "rustic" look. It's up to you.
  • Bake at 400° F for 20 minutes.
  • Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

And because I try to be transparent with my readers, here are the two ugly ones that normally wouldn't make it into the blog haha!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dipping Oil

Back in Massachusetts, there's a restaurant chain called Bertucci's and their food is delicious. Lucky for me, there's one right next to the bridal store I purchased from when I got married. So every time we had to go there (picking out my dress, picking out bridesmaid dresses, alterations, etc.) we would eat at Bertucci's! The best part of going there is the freshly made rolls with their amazing dipping oil. I decided to try to recreate it. I have to say, mine might actually be even better. How do ya like that?! haha

Dipping Oil
Makes: 4 servings

2 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh basil
1 tsp fresh parsley
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt

  • Mince the garlic, then crush it with the side of your knife until you have a fine paste. If you're not sure what I mean by this, check out this video.
  • Mince the basil, parsley, thyme, and rosemary.
  • Combine the garlic, herbs, pepper flakes, Parmesan, olive oil, and salt.
  • Serve with sliced crusty bread or rolls for dipping.

Have some extra dipping oil left over? Toss it with some hot pasta and top with diced tomatoes!

...or you can use it as a marinade for chicken, seafood, or vegetables!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

"Un-fried" Squash

As I mentioned in my Fried Squash post, southerners love their fried squash. It can be breaded or battered. But... since we're trying to be healthy here, I decided to try an un-fried version! I think it tastes just as good as the fried version! In fact, it was so good I didn't feel like it needed any kind of dipping sauce. It was delicious on its own.

"Un-fried" Squash
Makes: 4 servings

2 summer squash
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Rinse the summer squash and pat them dry. Cut the squash into 1/2" circles. Set aside.
  • Make the marinade by mixing together the canola oil, garlic, herbs, pepper flakes, and salt.
  • Add the squash and marinade to a gallon size plastic bag, then toss to coat the squash. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • Remove the squash from the marinade and grill on high for 2 minutes per side.
  • Serve as an appetizer or as a side dish.

Fried Squash

Fried squash is another southern treat that I was sadly deprived of until I moved to Charlotte. Apparently it's a big deal around here. Southerners love their fried squash. Almost as much as fried pickles haha! I've seen some people use a batter on their squash and some people bread it. I like it both ways, but today I decided to bread it. And... since it's swim suit season, I'll decided to try my hand at some "Un-fried" Squash. They both came out excellent if I do say so myself!

Fried Squash
Makes: 4 servings

2 medium summer squash
2 cups plain bread crumbs
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried Italian herb mix
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2/3 cup flour
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
canola oil for frying

  • Fill a stainless steel fry pan with 1" of oil and preheat over medium-medium-high.
  • Rinse the summer squash and pat them dry. Then cut them into 1/4" slices. Set aside.
  • Mix together the bread crumbs, salt, garlic, herbs, and cayenne pepper.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.
  • Dip the squash into the flour, then the egg mixture, then the bread crumb mixture.
  • Once all of the slices of squash are coated in bread crumbs, lay them out in a single layer on a plate and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes. This will allow the breading to harden a little bit and prevent cracking when you fry it.
  • Fry the squash in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Once the squash is golden brown, about 3 - 4 minutes per side, remove from the oil and allow to drain.
  • Serve with dipping sauce such as marinara.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Three Olive Tapenade

I just love olives. They're so salty and pungent. Yum! Olive tapenade is the perfect snack for olive lovers. It's a mix of finely chopped olives with some other yummy flavorings. For this particular recipe, I kept it pretty simple because I wanted the olives to be the star of the show. But I've seen some other recipes that include capers, anchovies, or roasted red peppers. Feel free to play around with it and add your own spin!

Three Olive Tapenade
Makes: 8 servings

1 1/2 cups black olives
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1/2 cup green olives with pimiento
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

  • Combine all of the ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.
  • If you prefer a smoother texture, continue to puree for 2 minutes, periodically scraping down the sides.
  • Serve at room temperature or cold.
  • Serve on crostini (toasted bread rubbed with garlic) or with veggies. You can even spread it on some chicken breast then bake in the oven!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

White Bean Salad

I don't think white bean salad gets nearly enough credit for how delicious it really is. Some might think of it as old fashioned or boring. But I beg to differ. White bean salad is a delicious appetizer that can be served on crostini (toasted bread rubbed with garlic) or on individual spoons as pictured here. The latter is an impressive presentation and makes it a great "grab and go" appetizer for a party.

White Bean Salad
Makes: 4 servings

15 oz can of white beans (also called northern beans)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red onion, minced
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp chives, chopped
pinch sea salt
  • Drain the beans well, but don't rinse them.
  • Combine all of the ingredients and mix well.
  • Serve at room temperature or cold.
Note: this recipe tastes even better when refrigerated overnight. This is true with pretty much any recipe that includes raw garlic, onions, scallions, or the like.