; Supermarket Serenade: July 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Peach & Blueberry (or Raspberry) Crumbles

Do you ever have one of those days when you just get something in your head and that's just it-it's stuck there? I had one of those days today.

Before I left for the supermarket I looked over the recipe for today's Barefoot Blogger recipe not once but twice just to be sure. But for some reason once I got to the store I just had it in my head that we were making Peach and Raspberry Crumbles. It didn't matter that my list said blueberries...I knew it was raspberries...I knew I simply wrote blueberries by mistake. Guess what? The list was right.
As I am sure you may have surmised today is Barefoot Thursday, the day when countless food bloggers across the blogosphere prepare a delicious recipe created by the infamous Ina Garten-a.k.a. The Barefoot Contessa. Today's recipe was selected by Aggie of Aggie's Kitchen-she selected (as you already know) Peach and Blueberry Crumbles. Why don't you join us next month preparing a Barefoot Blogger recipe?

I made only one change and that obviously would be that I used raspberries instead of the called for blueberries. But I have to say...raspberries worked out just grand. Not to sound like sour grapes (or blueberries as the case may be) but I like raspberries better anyway.

The recipe was delicious...peaches are so tasty right now so it could not have been a more timely selection-Thanks, Aggie.

Peach & Blueberry Crumbles
Ina Garten from The Barefoot Contessa at Home

For the fruit:
2 pounds firm, ripe peaches (6-8 peaches)
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh blueberries (1/2 pint)...or you may use raspberries!
For the crumble:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until their skins peel off easily. Place them immediately in cold water. Peel the peaches, slice them into thick wedges and place them in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the blueberries. allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. spoon the mixture into ramekins or custard cups.
or the topping, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt cinnamon, and the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it's in big crumbles, then sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the tops are browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. serve warm or at room temperature.

If you want to make these early, store the unbaked crumbles in the refrigerator and bake before dinner.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What can I bake with surplus M&M's?

I love it when a new movie comes out and candy companies like M&M/Mars roll out collector edition versions of their candies. While I am a big movie goer (and proud to say a charter member of Netflix) I am not what you would call a collector of movie paraphernalia so it’s not for that reason that I get excited; but rather it is because 9 times out of 10 a few weeks down the road when the movie is but a distant memory and the American consumer has moved on to the next big thing the collector packages go on clearance.

Such is the case with my recent purchase of M&M’s Transformer’s Revenge of the Fallen (was that really a movie? No one in my house cared) I was able to nab a few bargain bags of half priced Transformer M&M’s!

While I easily could have inhaled each bag, (I am in fact an M&M addict-plain not peanut…sometimes almond…never dark and certainly never those over-priced M&M premium flavors.) I showed constraint and decided to look for some recipes that used M&M’s. (Yeah that’s it"…kids don’t eat them, Mom bought them to bake with.")

As luck would have it my cooking contest/blogger friend Anna from Cookie Madness had a yummy (easy) recipe on her blog for Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars so I gave them a go. I made one slight alteration-I replaced half of the semi-sweet chocolate chips with butterscotch chips (I sure do love those butterscotch chips). Not surprisingly the bars were loved by all. My daughter thought that they would make a delicious base for an ice cream sundae while they were still warm…unfortunately we only had mango sorbet in the fridge…ahhh..next time. OK so that takes up about 1/2 cup of M&M’s any suggestions on things to make with remaining? (I bought 3 bags...c'mon...they were on sale!!)

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars
by Anna at Cookie Madness (from Food & Wine)
1 cup all purpose unbleached flour (135 grams)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (2 ml)
1/4 teaspoon salt (1 ml)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (85 grams)
1/2 cup light brown sugar (110 grams)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (48 grams)
1 teaspoon vanilla (5 ml)
1 large egg
3/4 cups pretzels, broken
1 cup semi- sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup M&Ms (plain) – more if you want

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch metal pan with foil and spray with cooking spray (or use parchment).

Mix together the flour, soda and salt; set aside.

Beat the butter and both sugars in a mixing bowl. When light, beat in the vanilla. Add the egg and beat until it’s mixed, then gradually stir in the flour mixture, followed by the pretzel pieces, chocolate and M&Ms.
(I don't normally like to eat cookie dough because my mom warned me about the raw eggs and all, but this m&m studded dough was pretty darn tempting)
Spread mixture evenly in pan and bake on center rack for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely. Lift from pan and cut into bars.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Roasted Two Pepper Orzo and My Very Favorite (easy) Grilled Steak

Just about every woman I know has a go-to little black dress hanging in her closet. I have a fabulous black satin trimmed sheath dress that I like to think of as my dress-up, dress-down, never let me down stand by.

Well, I like to think of skirt steak as the little black dress of beef. Always tasty, always easy to cook with it never lets me down; it's the one meat I always keep in the freezer for that "just in case" moment. You can dress it up with a fancy blue cheese sauce or dress it down and serve it in a casual fajita, but tender skirt steak, fancy or casual, completes a menu much like your little black dress completes your wardrobe.

I've gone casual in my steak prep today, using a tasty marinade found in your supermarket: Durkee Grill Creations Black Peppercorn Marinade. Quick and easy, this ready to mix marinade gives your steak a nice, peppery kick; it's my very favorite supermarket marinade mix.

Keeping the pepper theme going, I paired the steak with a spicy Roasted Two Pepper Orzo that's equally easy to make and a perfect complement to the peppery steak. Don't be intimidated by roasting the peppers yourself-it could not be easier and the fresh roasted flavor is worth the effort. Use extra care when removing the skins from the jalapeno peppers-they're very hot and if you're not wearing gloves, be sure to wash your hands before touching your eyes...I can tell you from experience...it will burn!

Roasted Two Pepper Orzo with Charred Lime
1 red pepper
2 jalapeno peppers
1 lime, thinly sliced
32 ounces chicken broth
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups orzo
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small dice
Preheat a grill to medium high heat.

Place the peppers directly on the grill rack and cook, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides. Place the charred peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let peppers sit for 10 minutes to allow the skin to loosen slightly.
Carefully grill the lime slices 1-2 minutes per side until grill marks appear.
Bring the chicken broth and water to a boil in a large pot; add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes or until tender. Drain the orzo and transfer to a large bowl; toss with the oil, cilantro and salt.

Carefully remove the skins, seeds and membranes from the peppers. Finely chop the peppers and stir into the orzo along with the mozzarella and the limes.

My Very Favorite (easy) Grilled Steak

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak
1 packet Durkee Grill Creations Black Peppercorn Marinade
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Place the skirt steak in a marinating bowl or large zipper top plastic bag. Whisk together the Durkee marinade, oil, water and vingear; pour over the steak. Allow steak to marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat a gas grill to medium high heat. Remove steak from the marinade and place on the grill rack; grill steak 3 minutes per side for medium rare or continue grilling until desired doneness. Transfer steak to a cutting board, season with the kosher salt then allow the steak to rest for 5-8 minutes. Carve the steak diagonally into 1/4 inch thick slices.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Barefoot Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Oh boy...this one is a keeper.

Today is Barefoot Thursday (barely...I'm squeaking it in at the last possible moment-I can't even use Pacific time as a cover-I'm east coast and it's pushing 11:00 p.m.) and as with all Barefoot Thursdays, (Barefoot) food bloggers near and far prepare a delicious Ina Garten (aka: The Barefoot Contessa) recipe.

Today's recipe selection was made by Cat of Delta Whiskey. Cat, whose birthday just happens to be today (Happy Birthday!!); she selected Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes. This recipe was divinely easy and divinely tasty.

I prepared this recipe for the Women's shelter that I cook for so I had to do a little doubling and tripling here and there. Ina Garten's original recipe is here. I'm sharing the recipe as I adapted it for 20. (Oh and I forgot to buy the olives...so it's sans black olives...sorry!)

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes for 20
adapted from Ina Garten from Barefoot Contessa Family Style

1 1/2 pounds pasta (I used mini-penne)
kosher salt
Olive oil
3 pints grape tomatoes, quartered
2 pounds fresh mozzarella, medium diced
18 sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
for the dressing:
10 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 teaspoons capers
3 teaspoons kosher salt (I know, I know that's a lot...but it really tastes good)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves, julienned

Cook the pasta in two batches 3/4 lb. at a time in a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil for 12 minutes or according to the directions on the package. Drain well, toss with a bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a large bowl and add the tomatoes, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

For the dressing, combine the sun dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic capers, salt and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.

Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan and basil and toss well.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Gazpacho and Avocado-lime Chicken Pitas

Well I had every good intention of posting my Barefoot Blogger's Gazpacho before I left to go away, but you know how it goes...I mean I had to pack for everyone! So here it is now and as an added bonus I've included the recipe for a tasty little pita sandwich that I served with it.

The Gazpacho, the second of the June recipes for the Barefoot Bloggers was selected byMeryl of My Bit of Earth. Barefoot Bloggers are a group of bloggers that prepare two Ina Garten (aka: The Barefoot Contessa) recipes each month (unless you go away and then have to prepare 3 Ina Garten recipes in one month!).

So yeah, Gazpacho...cold tomato soup...hmmm. Well, because it was an Ina Garten recipe the flavors were really delicious, but I've got to tell you I'm not much for the cold soup thing. Hot, steamy July day withstanding, I'd still rather have my soup hot (which truthfully I did! I warmed up my little bowl in the microwave and served it just warm...and you know what...it was great!) The recipe for Ina's Gazpacho is here.
On the side I served a tasty little pita stuffed with chicken, broccoli slaw, avocado and tomato...it was the perfect accompaniment. Broccoli slaw is a delicious (and healthful) convenience I found in the produce aisle of the supermarket. It is a combination of shredded broccoli, cabbage and carrots all conveniently packaged and ready to eat.

I have long been a broccoli hater that has really wanted to be a broccoli at least liker, but I just haven't been able to stomach it. I know how good broccoli is for you and I really, really want to like it and this has made it almost possible! I love this stuff...it is fabulous tucked in a sandwich for a delicious, healthful crunch. I also love to quickly blanch it, season lightly with salt and pepper then serve it with grilled meats...simple and delicious!

Avocado-lime Chicken Pitas
1 avocado, seed removed, diced
8 grape tomatoes, very thinly sliced
1 cup broccoli slaw
1 cup small diced cooked chicken (such as leftover grilled or store-bought rotisserie)
4 basil leaves, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 teaspoons red pepper flavored olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 small whole wheat pitas, split open

In a large bowl, combine the diced avocado, tomatoes, broccoli slaw, chicken, basil, lime juice, oil, kosher salt and pepper; stir gently to combine well.

Using a small spoon, stuff the pitas with the filling, evenly dividing.
Yield: 4 pita sandwiches