Sunday, August 29, 2010

key lime pie highlights recent dinner party

Earlier this month I had a little dinner to celebrate Joseph Leon's birthday.  I started with cream of broccoli soup (you've seen that one before, last Thanksgiving) a Florentine lasagne which is made with spinach and bechamel and for dessert, key lime pie.  The food was good, the company even better, but the pie is worth sharing.  Here is the recipe:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick melted butter
2 14oz cans of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of fresh lime juice  (I squeezed 8-9 limes to get this)
2 whole eggs
1 tbl lime zest
Whip cream / powdered sugar / lime slices
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix the graham cracker crumbs sugar and butter and press into and up sides of 9"  glass pie pan.  Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove and cool. Lower oven to 325 degrees.  Mix condensed milk, eggs, lime juice and zest.  Place in cool crust and bake for 15 minutes.  Chill for 2 hours before serving.  Dust plate with powdered sugar, top with whip cream and lime slice.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

thin crust pizza

I have been experimenting with mini pizzas for a while--just ask my brother, he was a willing trial subject in the beginning and even called and asked for more.  But my toppings have gotten a little more sophisticated, with very good flavor and I just had to share the recipe and technique.

First, I use plain pita pockets for the base--so simple, they make a thin crunchy crust and you use them right out of the package.  I heat the the oven to 475 degrees and I place two ten inch cast iron skillets on the rack upside down. Preheat for ten minutes.  That will be the perfect pizza stone for my nine inch pita pockets.  I mix olive oil with a splash of soy sauce for the base of the pizza--secret ingredient-- and then place thin slices of zucchini, little blobs of fresh mozzarella, pulled pieces of raw hot Italian sausage, a sprinkle of fennel seeds, sea salt and cracked black pepper and bake for seven minutes.  To die for.  Variations include fresh mozzarella and arugula or hot sausage with smoked clams and provolone--that one is crazy good.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

asian beef salad recipe

I had the book group over for dinner last week. We read a mystery, Dark Places by a new writer, Gillian Flynn.  Good book with a main character with enough head problems and issues to keep you wondering how it will end and it does have a little twist at the finish.  For two weeks prior to dinner I had been hooked on making different variations of one of my favorite meals, Asian salad, so I thought it appropriate to make one for my friends.  Some dim sum for appetizers from Dim Sum Bar right in the neighborhood, pomegranate and mango sorbet drizzled with vodka for dessert and it was a fresh and healthy July summer dinner.  Here is the recipe for the salad.  Serves 4-5.

1 head of savoy cabbage,  4-5 outer leaves reserved, 1 1/2 cups of cabbage shredded
2 cups of baby arugula leaves
2 cups of baby spinach
1 serrano chili, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 lb cooked spagetti, chilled
1 cup shredded carrot--long threads, if possible
4 green onions, chopped on the bias--reserve 2 tbl for garnish
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
3-4 tbl of Girard's spinach dressing--thanks Donna! This is good stuff--use it on a classic spinach and bacon salad, too.
2 lb top sirloin steak--longer is better than thicker
hoison sauce
salt and pepper
2 tbl crushed garlic
4-5 tbl vegetable oil

From the savoy cabbage, separate the 4-5 large outer leaves, clean, and save to be the base to place your salad. Slice and shred 1 1/2 cups of the cabbage and reserve. Marinate the steak in garlic and 2-3 tbl oil in a zip lock back in the refrigerator for an hour. Salt and pepper the steak and in a hot heavy skillet, add about 2 tbl of oil and cook steak about 4 minutes on each side (med rare).  Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Combine the rest of the ingredients up to the Girard's dressing, reserving 2 tbl of green onion for garnish.  Place a savoy cabbage leave in an oversized bowl or plate.  Arrange mixed salad on top.  Slice beef in thin slices, brush with hoison and place 3-4 on top of salad.  Garnish with reserved green onion. Enjoy!