Week Nights

Camille’s Guacamole Bacon Burgers

June 27, 2013

Camille’s Guacamole Bacon Burgers 2Camille’s Guacamole Bacon Burgers

Add some green to your Red, White & Blue!  This July 4th kick up the classics and put a little green in your Red White & Blue with fresh avocado.

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound Ground Beef

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 Egg

1 Pound Thick Cut Bacon (About 8 Slices)

2 Avocados

1 Chopped Tomato

1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro

1/2 Cup Salsa

1/2 Lemon or Lime

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

Lettuce for Garnish

1 Tomato for Garnish

Pickles for Garnish

Start by cooking the bacon, in a large size skillet over a medium heat, on the stove until you have your desired crispiness.  While the bacon is cooking put the ground beef into a large size bowl.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and the egg.  Mix together.  With your hands separate the meat mixture into 4 equal balls. Have one of the meat balls in one hand and with the other hand press down with your palm to make a patty.  Repeat this process until you have finished with all four.  Place onto a plate and set aside.  After the bacon is cooked place onto paper towels to drain.  With the same pan that you used to cook the bacon place the beef patties.  Obviously, this is definitely a calorie splurge, but it really does add a lot of flavor to the burgers.  Cook the patties for 6 to 8 minutes per side.  If you have a meat thermometer then the temperature goal is 160º F on the inside of the burger.

While the burgers are cooking make the guacamole.  Cut up one of the tomatoes into small cubes and put into a medium size bowl.  Add the 2 avocados.  The avocados should be ripe so that they are easy to mash plus tastes much better.  Add the cilantro, salsa, lemon or lime juice, kosher salt and pepper.  Mash together with a potato masher, but leave somewhat chunky.  This is really easy to do and super delicious!  Now that the burgers are done cooking and you’ve made the guacamole take 4 buns and place the patties on the buns.  Top with guacamole, bacon and add the toppings of your choice: Mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles and enjoy!  Make 4

Marinated Cucumber & Onion Salad

June 24, 2013

CucumberMarinated Cucumber & Onion Salad

I love this salad.  It’s easy to make and makes a great side dish.  If you plan on marinating the salad overnight make sure to cut the cucumber a tad thicker.  This way it will keep more of a crunch.  You may use any type of onion that you like, but a sweet onion (like Vidalia) is a good choice.  I’ve made this salad with red onions as well.

INGREDIENTS

1/3 Cup Rice Vinegar

3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Mint

2 Tablespoons Honey

1 Tablespoon Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

3 1/2 Cups Sliced Cucumber

1 Cup Sliced Onion

In a large size bowl combine the rice vinegar, chopped mint, honey, sugar, kosher salt and pepper.  Wisk until the sugar dissolves.  Add the cucumber and onion slices.  Toss well and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge for 4 or more hours.  While in the fridge go in and toss a few times to ensure that all of the cucumber and onion slices are getting marinated.  Remove from the fridge and serve.  Serves 4

Cucumber Salad 2

Classic Black Beans & Rice

June 21, 2013

Black BeansClassic Black Beans & Rice

Everyone needs a few easy weekend night meals to pull out of their hat.  Here is a wonderful Classic Black Beans & Rice recipe that is truly a faithful friend.  If you want to add meat then either add chicken or fish.  Shrimp is a good choice for a homespun Cajun night.

INGREDIENTS

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

3/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion

1/2 Cup Chopped Green or Red Bell Pepper

3 Minced Garlic Cloves

2 Cups Cooked Black Beans (Undrained)

3/4 Cup Water

1 Teaspoon Oregano

2 Teaspoons Chili Powder

1 Tablespoon Vinegar

In a medium size saucepan heat the oil over a medium heat.  Add the onions, peppers and garlic.  Cook for 8 minutes until they are nice and tender.  Stir in the beans, water, oregano, chili powder and vinegar.  Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.  Serve over hot white or brown rice.  Serves 4

Rice

Super Easy Chicken Fajitas

June 20, 2013

Chicken FajitasSuper Easy Chicken Fajitas

I’ve really been in a Mexican food mood as of late.  Since getting back from Tucson a couple of months ago I have really been yearning for good South of the Border cuisine.  Keeping in line with easy weeknight meals here is a quick and easy family dinner.

INGREDIENTS

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Pound Chicken Breast Strips

1 Cup Salsa

3 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice

1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 Bell Pepper (Cut into Thin Strips)

1 Medium Onion (Cut into Thin Strips)

10 Flour Tortillas for Fajitas or Soft Tacos

In a medium size skillet add the olive oil and chicken strips. Cook over a medium-high heat for 4 minutes.  Add the salsa, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce.  Add the peppers and onions.  Give a good stir.  Cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables are crisp-tender.  Remove from the heat and spoon the filling into tortillas.  Add additional salsa as a topping if you like.  Roll these babies up and serve.  Makes 10 fajitas.

Tip: Feel free to add shredded cheese, sliced mushrooms, tomatoes or anything your heart desires.

Chicken Fajitas 2

 

Camille’s Smoked Salmon Frittata

June 19, 2013

Smoked Salmon FrittataCamille's Smoked Salmon Frittata

Victoria and Camille have been cooking together almost from the moment Camille was born.  Camille’s tiny hands broke eggs for cakes, stirred frosting and of course licked the beaters.  Victoria couldn’t keep Camille out of the kitchen so she purchased a little lightweight stool for her to stand on in order to reach the counters.  Because Camille has been cooking for over 20 years she has become an expert in coming up with her own recipes and cooking ideas.  She loves to cook for family and friends alike and I must admit her Banana Bread is out of this world.  Here is Camille’s Smoked Salmon Frittata that she concocted last night.  It was delicious and naturally there are no leftovers.  Give her frittata a try for dinner, lunch or breakfast.  It’s nice having a multi-meal dish at your fingertips.

INGREDIENTS

1 Diced Medium Onion

1 Tablespoon Butter

12 Fresh Eggs

1 Cup Milk

1/2 Cup Feta Cheese

1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese

1/4 Cup Sliced Mushrooms

1 Cup Spinach

3/4 Cup Smoked Salmon

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  In a medium size ovenproof skillet sauté the onions and butter for about 5 minutes over a medium heat.  You will want the onions to be translucent. Turn off the heat and let the onions rest.  In a large size bowl add all of the eggs.  Whisk until well combined.  Add the milk, cheese, mushrooms, spinach, salmon and pepper.  If you want to add salt you can, but I chose not to because the salmon is already salty.  Mix everything together in the bowl and then pour everything over the onions that have been resting in the pan.  Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes until lightly browned and a knife comes out clean.  Remove from the oven.  Serve directly from the skillet and enjoy. If you’re serving this dish for dinner you could top with sliced avocado.  Serves 8

Smoked Salmon Frittata 2

Red Pepper & Cucumber Salad

June 18, 2013

Red PepperRed Pepper & Cucumber Salad

Summer is here and I tend to want to eat a bit lighter during these warm months.  Here is a good side salad.  If you want to make it a main meal then add sautéed chicken, shrimp or tofu.

INGREDIENTS

1 Garlic Clove

1 Diced Large Shallot

1 Seeded and Diced Jalapeno Pepper

4 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

1 Large Seeded and Diced Red Pepper

1 Large Peeled and Diced Cucumber

1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro

3 Sliced Ripe Avocados

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Pound the garlic clove to a smooth paste.  Place the garlic, shallot, jalapeno, kosher salt and lime juice into a small size bowl.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup olive oil and stir to combine.  Place the red pepper, cucumber and chopped cilantro into a medium size bowl.  Pour half of the garlic vinaigrette into the bowl of red pepper mixture.  Stir to combine well.  Arrange the sliced avocado on a serving platter and pour the remaining garlic vinaigrette evenly over the top of the avocado.  Spoon the red pepper mixture on and around the avocado.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4 as a side salad or 2 as a main dish.

 

Tip: When seeding a jalapeno, lay the pepper on its side on a cutting board.  Use a sharp knife and cut just to the right of the stem and along one side of the pepper.  Remove just the flesh and not the seeds.  Rotate the pepper a quarter turn and then slice again.  Continue to turn and slice until you have four seedless slices.  Throw away the seeds and core.

Jalapeno Peppers

Peas & Cipollini Onions

June 17, 2013

Peas & Cipollini OnionsPeas & Cipollini Onions

I love peas and this dish is a favorite of mine.  Featuring cipollini onions it makes a beautiful presentation.

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Peeled Cipollini Onions (8 Ounces)

1/2 Cup Butter

1/4 Cup Water

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 Teaspoons Chopped Basil

2 Teaspoons Chopped Cilantro

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

2 Packages Organic Frozen Peas (10 Ounces Each) Thawed

2 Cups Shredded Cabbage

In a medium size pot bring 6 cups of water to a boil.  Add the peeled cipollini onions and cook for only 3 minutes.  Drain and rinse in cold water.  Set aside.  In the same pot melt the butter over a low heat.  Add the cipollini onions, water, kosher salt, basil, cilantro and pepper.  Stir and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the thawed peas and the shredded cabbage.  Give a good stir and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.  Serve warm.  Serves 6

 

Hint:  I sometimes like to cheat and buy pre-peeled cipollini onions.  Sometimes a gal just gets a bit lazy!

Fiddlehead Ferns & New Potatoes

May 31, 2013

FiddleheadsFiddlehead Ferns & New Potatoes

Fiddlehead Ferns are the first tender shoots of the ostrich fern.  They usually come into season during April and May.  The ferns must be picked while their tops are still tightly furled and their season is very short.  Fiddleheads usually have a papery brown skin that protects their green coils.  Rub the brown skin away before rinsing them well.  Choose bright green and firm fiddleheads that shouldn’t be much larger than a quarter.  Trim the stems and then steam or boil them for about 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain them and serve warm or at room temperature.  Toss with melted butter and lemon. You could also serve them chilled dressed in a light vinaigrette.  Serving fiddleheads will win you big points for creativity.  They taste somewhat like a cross between string beans and asparagus.  They certainly will give a nice accent to a warm salad. You could serve this warm salad with poached salmon or over a bed of tender young greens for a beautiful springtime starter.

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound Tiny New Potatoes

2 Cups Fiddlehead Ferns

1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

12 Large Cornichon Pickles

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1/2 Cup Chopped Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

1 Chopped Hard-Boiled Egg

Scrub and slice the new potatoes in half.  Rinse the fiddleheads well and trim the stems.  In a large pot pour in 2 cups of water.  Set a large steamer basket inside the pot and fill with the potatoes and fiddlehead ferns.  Bring the water to a boil.  Reduce the heat and cover with a lid.  Steam for about 10 minutes.  You will want the potatoes to be fork tender and the ferns to be bright green and crisp tender.  Remove potatoes and fiddlehead from the steamer and place them in a large serving bowl.  Set aside.  In a blender or food processor combine the vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and mustard.  Add about 6 of the cornichons and blend to form a chunky puree.  Add the kosher salt and pepper and give a pulse.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the potatoes and fiddleheads.  Add the chopped parsley and give a good toss.  Thinly slice the remaining cornichons.  Add the chopped hard-boiled egg and the sliced cornichons to the top of the salad.  Serve either warm or at room temperature.  Serves 4

Orzo Salad

May 28, 2013

Whole Wheat OrzoOrzo Salad

Try this whole wheat pasta and spinach salad tossed with sun-dried tomatoes and garbanzo beans.  It’s satisfying enough to have as a light main course and, of course, perfect for serving alongside your grilled entrées.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Pound Whole Wheat Orzo

1/4 Pound Baby Spinach (About 4 Packed Cups)

4 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

24 Pieces Sundried Tomatoes in Olive Oil (Chopped Plus 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil  From The Jar)

15 Ounces Cooked Garbanzo Beans (Rinsed & Drained)

Cook the orzo in a large size pot of salted boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes until al dente.   Drain and rinse in cold water and then drain again.  In a large bowl toss the orzo with the spinach, lemon juice, sundried tomatoes, olive oil and garbanzo beans.  Refrigerate for 1 hour or serve room temperature.  Serves 4

Asparagus With Toasted Almonds

May 23, 2013

Asparagus 3Asparagus With Toasted Almonds

Barbeque season is officially here although I fire up the barbeque all year round.  While you’re thinking about all of those delicious main dishes that you’re going to make this weekend don’t forget the sides.  Here is a great side dish that even makes a nice light lunch.

INGREDIENTS

1 Large Bunch Asparagus

1/2 Cup Toasted & Sliced Almonds

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Zest of 1 Lemon

1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Dill

1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley

1/4 Cup Grated Pecorino Cheese

In a medium size sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over a low heat.  Stir in the almonds and cook for a couple of minutes.  You will want them to turn color, but not too dark or burnt.  Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to dry.  Snap off the woody bottoms of the asparagus.  Wash and dry the asparagus.  Cut the asparagus spears into thirds or leave whole.  Place the asparagus in a medium size bowl and coat with the rest of the olive oil.  Place the asparagus in a large size sauté pan over a medium high heat.  Cook for 4 to 6 minutes until the asparagus in a bit charred, but still firm.  Place the cooked asparagus back into the bowl and add the salt, toasted almonds, dill, parsley and lemon zest.  Combine well.  Finish off with grated pecorino cheese.  Transfer to a serving bowl.  Serves 4

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