Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Farmers' Market Salad with Grilled Corn

"Could you please bring a salad?"  
I was invited to a dinner party last Saturday night and this was the answer to my question "What can I make?"  I happily agreed and decided to make my favorite salad of summer, appropriately named, Farmers' Market Salad
This is one of those non-recipe, recipes. The ingredients listed below are just guidelines. My suggestion is to make a shopping list of the necessary items for the vinaigrette and pesto. Ensure you have everything on your list. Then go to your favorite local farmers' market and buy big bunches of whatever is in season...whatever looks good. The only non-negotiables (in my opinion) are perfect, in-season tomatoes and the freshest possible corn on the cob.  Then mix in your favorite greens and vegetables and you are set. Zucchini, summer squash, scallions, roasted beets, onions, herbs, peppers...the list goes on and on and the variations are endless. Add a protein like grilled chicken, fish or steak and you have your main course.

This week's salad included onions, sweet red bell pepper, fresh herbs and a mixture of 4 different greens added to the aforementioned grilled corn and sweet tomatoes. Tossed with an herb vinaigrette (I used basil and mint) and topped with fresh croutons...some drizzled with olive oil and the rest spread with a delicious basil pesto...this was a perfect example of why I so love eating/cooking at the height of summer. Delicious.  Oh...and the dinner party? Great food, lovely wine, good friends and held in a elegant & beautiful earthship (that story for another time) .  Happy mid July everyone!

Farmers Market Salad
(serves 8)
2 ears corn on the cob
5 thick slices good sourdough or whole wheat bread
extra virgin olive oil
16 handfuls mixed greens (your favorite combination of lettuces, spinach, kale, chard, etc)
1 cup cherry tomatoes (cut in half if large)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 sweet red onion, sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Herb Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Pesto (recipe follows)

Grill the corn on the cob. (I use this technique).  Cut corn off cob and set aside.
Grill or broil bread until golden brown with grill marks on both sides. Brush olive oil on 3 slices of bread. Thickly spread pesto on remaining 2 slices of  bread. Cut each slice of bread into 4 pieces. Set croutons aside
Add the greens, tomatoes, red bell pepper, onion,  to a large bowl. Add the reserved corn and large pinch each of salt and pepper. Drizzle salad with 1/3 cup vinaigrette and add the olive oil topped croutons. Toss salad . Add additional dressing if desired but take care not to overdress. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Top salad with pesto croutons and serve immediately.
Herb Vinaigrette
1 cup basil leaves
1 cup fresh herbs (1 or a mix, your choice of mint, tarragon, thyme)
1 clove, fresh garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp water
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Place all ingredients in food processor. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 oz parmigiano-reggiano cheese, cut into 2 pieces
2 garlic cloves
1 fresh red cayenne pepper (or other fresh hot red pepper), seeded
5 cups basil leaves (packed)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Toast pine nuts in skillet until just beginning to brown.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Add cheese to food processor fitted with the chopping/mixing blade.  Process until cheese is grated.  Add cooled pine nuts, garlic and red pepper and process until all ingredients are finely grated.  Add half of basil leaves and 1/4 cup olive oil and process until smooth but with a bit of texture. Add remaining basil, remaining olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Process until well mixed.  Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Scrape into small bowl and cover with thin layer of olive oil.

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It is "Corn on the Cob" week at Food Network's #Summer Soiree roundup. Have a favorite corn on the cob recipe?  Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. 
And check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network:

The Lemon Bowl: Corn on the Cob with Lemon Basil
Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Corn on the Cob with Honey-Basil Butter
The Heritage Cook: Mexican Elote Corn Casserole (Gluten-Free)
The Cultural Dish: New England Seafood Boil
Dishing With Divya: Corn on the Cob with Roasted Garlic Herb Butter
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Corn with Tomato Basil "Butter" (Vegan)
Devour: 4 Cobs, 4 Ways
Daily*Dishin: Quick Thyme Corn Cobbettes
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Farmers Market Salad with Grilled Corn
Red or Green: Grilled Corn on the Cob
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Buttery Corn on the Cob
Weelicious: Cheesy Corn on the Cob
Domesticate Me: Charred Corn with Bacon, Chiles and Cheese (aka Mexican Street Corn Salad)
Swing Eats: Corn Pasta with Fresh Summer Corn, Tomatoes and Chives
Haute Apple Pie: Roasted Corn off the Cob Salad
Taste With The Eyes: Grilled Corn, Soy Mirin Glaze and Wasabi Goat Butter
In Jennie's Kitchen: Corn and Lemon Thyme Ice Cream + Homemade Creamed Corn
FN Dish: Off-the-Chart Corn on the Cob Recipes

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Farmhouse Fried Chicken

Summer and perfect fried chicken. Does it get any better than that?  My grandmother made the best fried chicken in the world...She was from New Orleans and fried chicken, potato salad or mashed potatoes, green beans and homemade biscuits with butter and honey was regularly on the menu. We loved this dinner and so looked forward to the leftover chicken for lunch the next day...cold out of the fridge. (She called it the "ice box").  I never mastered her recipe, my version was good...but not perfect like hers. Sadly, she passed away in 1999 and things have never been the same. I spent years looking for a delicious fried chicken substitute and James Beard came to the rescue.

This is my new favorite fried chicken recipe. I discovered it in Saveur magazine a few years ago and it has become a staple in my house. The recipe is originally from classic book James Beard's American Cookery. I think there is something close to perfection making bacon for Sunday morning brunch and then using the bacon grease to fry delicious chicken for supper. Light, crispy, non-greasy and full of smokey bacon flavor, this fried chicken will soon become a classic in your home too.  Enjoy!

I have made a few changes to the recipe over the years. My edits are listed in red font. The original recipe (including bacon grease dripping gravy which...ok, to be honest is too much for me but maybe for an over-the-top dinner?) is available by clicking here.

Farmhouse Fried Chicken
(adapted from James Beard's American Cookery by James Beard (Little, Brown and Company, 1972) )
4 servings

1  3–4- lb. chicken, cut into 8–10 pieces, rinsed
   and patted dry with paper towels (use the best quality, free range organic chicken you can)
2 cups buttermilk
8 strips applewood smoked thick sliced bacon
3⁄4 cup flour
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried Italian parsley flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place buttermilk, 1 tsp each salt and pepper in large, resealable plastic bag. Add the prepped chicken and seal. Place bag in a rimmed baking dish. Refrigerate overnight if possible but at a minimum 4 hours, turn bag 2-3 times to ensure chicken is evenly coated with buttermilk. Remove from fridge and drain. Pat dry with paper towels.
2. Preheat oven to 200°. Lay strips of bacon in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet and cook on the stovetop over medium heat, turning often, until browned and crisp, 12–15 minutes.  Put flour, paprika, cayenne pepper and parsley into a wide dish, dredge chicken in the flour, shaking off excess, and set aside.
3.  Transfer bacon to paper towels to let drain, then use as desired in another recipe. Pour grease from skillet into a heatproof bowl and wipe out browned bits from bottom of skillet. Return grease to skillet, straining out any sediment, and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken legs and thighs, skin side down, to skillet, season to taste with salt and pepper, and fry, turning occasionally, until well browned all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet as done. Repeat with chicken breasts and wings. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to skillet, reduce heat to medium, and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through, 15–20 minutes more. Put chicken on the wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet as done and keep warm in oven.
Serve hot, warm or perfect the next day cold out of the fridge.

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It is "Chicken" week at Food Network's #Summer Soiree roundup.
Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Have a favorite chicken recipe?  Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one.

Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas
The Lemon Bowl: Indian Spiced Grilled Chicken
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Fajita Spiced Beer Can Chicken
Dishing With Divya: General Tso's Chicken with Indian Jeera Rice
Weelicious: Breaded Chicken Cutlets with Pea Salad
Sweet Life Bake: Chicken Fajitas
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Farmhouse Fried Chicken
Red or Green: Spicy Chicken Provencal with Peppers and Heirloom Tomatoes
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Sweet and Sour Sesame Chicken
Domesticate Me: Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken with Strawberry-Jalapeno Salsa
Devour: 5 Sizzling Skewers
Swing Eats: Long John Silver's Style Fried Chicken Planks (Gluten-Free)
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Best Tandoori Chicken Recipe
Taste With The Eyes: Perfect Chicken Dish to Serve to a Crowd
FN Dish: Chicken is Better with Grill Marks

napa farmhouse 1885
red or green?
california girl in taos

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Apple Cider Coleslaw

This is coleslaw week at Food Network's #Summer Soiree and I thought I would share one of my favorite recipe with you...Apple Cider Coleslaw.  

I am not a fan of overly creamy salads. They are too heavy for me and get soggy so quickly. I miss the crunch of the vegetables and the "healthy" factor. This version has only 1/4 cup of mayonnaise in the entire recipe and has a sweet/tart taste with the addition of apple cider vinegar.

A mix of red and green cabbage, carrots, sweet red bell pepper and crunchy almonds, this dish is perfect for all your summer favorite foods like fried chicken, ribs, burgers, pulled pork sandwiches and hot dogs. But I also love it in less traditional ways...How about on fish tacos? Or burritos? Topping a tuna salad sandwich? I even like scooping it up with crunchy corn tortilla chips.  Give it a try and please let me know how you will serve the coleslaw.

Apple Cider Coleslaw
(6 servings)

2 cups red cabbage, shredded
1 cup green cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, shredded
2  tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise

1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey mustard
1 tsp celery seeds
sea salt
black pepper

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Add cabbage, bell pepper and carrots to large bowl.  In a small bowl add vinegar, mayonnaise, 1 tbsp olive oil, mustard and celery seeds.  Whisk until combined. Add pinch each salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.Add additional tbsp olive oil if the vinaigrette looks too thick.

Pour half of vinaigrette over cabbage mixture. (Refrigerate remaining vinaigrette) Stir to combine.  Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour. Remove from fridge. Stir and add additional vinaigrette if desired but do not overdo...You do not want it to get soggy. Sprinkle almonds over salad and serve cold.

This slaw keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Do not add almonds until ready to serve.

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It is "Coleslaw" week at Food Network's #Summer Soiree roundup.
Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Have a favorite coleslaw recipe?  Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one.

Feed Me Phoebe: Healthy Broccoli Slaw with Yogurt-Mint Dressing 
The Heritage Cook: Ranch-Flavored Cole Slaw (Gluten-Free)
Weelicious: Grated Vegetable Slaw
Daily*Dishin: Pineapple Jalapeno Coleslaw
Virtually Homemade: Sweet and Spicy Mexican Slaw
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Apple Cider Coleslaw
Red or Green: Purple Cabbage Slaw with Honey/Chipotle Vinaigrette
Devour: Coleslaw Around the World
Sweet Life Bake: Cumin-Lime Coleslaw
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Vegan Coleslaw
Swing Eats: Thai Coleslaw
Taste With The Eyes: Spicy Rainbow Slaw
FN Dish: 4 Tricks for Shredded Slaw Glory

napa farmhouse 1885

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Grilled Bruschetta with Pesto, Sauteed Spinach & Garlic Scapes

I spent last Saturday morning wandering through our local farmers' market...one of my favorite summer activities. I love to create recipes on the spot based on what looks good; what is in season. This week was no exception.

I first passed a vendor carrying garlic scapes. Are you familiar with scapes?  If not, go immediately to your farmer's market and ask for them.  They are a soon-to-flower stalk that grows at the top of the garlic plant from between the leaves.  These "flowers" have to be cut off to ensure the bulb receives the necessary energy required to grow into the garlic we know and love.  This process is sort of like pinching the flowers off herb plants to aid in their growth.
garlic scapes

Many people discard the scapes when harvesting. If you grow garlic do not let this happen. They are an amazingly tasty vegetable that can be used wherever you normally use garlic, green onions or chives. They taste like a milder version of fresh garlic, with a bit less bite, while still retaining tons of flavor. They can be chopped up and added to stir-fry, frittata, pasta or sautéed and added as a topping for pizza. You will find many ways to use. They add tons of spice to this bruschetta recipe.  I bought a huge bunch.

Next to the scape man was my favorite bread vendor featuring whole wheat sourdough bread that is truly addictive. One loaf was quickly added to my basket. As soon as I passed a booth chock full of wild spinach and basil my menu came together...grilled sourdough bread spread with fresh basil pesto and topped with a garlicky saute of scapes and spinach. How good does that sound? My perfect summer appetizer? Done! I think I will make the bruschetta for the 4th of July holiday this weekend.

Grilled Bruschetta with Pesto, Sauteed Spinach & Garlic Scapes
(quantity flexible..make as many as you wish)

excellent quality sourdough or french bread-2 thick slices per serving
1 batch pesto (recipe follows)
garlic scapes- 1 per serving (or 1 clove garlic per serving), thinly sliced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
2 handfuls wild spinach (or baby spinach) per serving
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar per serving
pinch red pepper flakes per serving
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
toasted pine nuts for sprinkling

Grill or broil bread until both sides are golden brown. Generously spread pesto over 1 side of each piece and set aside.

In a large skillet, warm the olive oil and then saute the scapes until soft. Do not let brown. Add spinach and saute until wilted. Stir in vinegar, red pepper and a pinch each salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if making a large batch. Cook an additional 30 seconds. Pile spinach mixture on top of prepared toast. Sprinkle pine nuts over spinach and serve immediately.

(this recipe is made without cheese for a lighter, fresher taste than traditional pesto. I like it better with the spinach but feel free to use your favorite pesto for this recipe)

1/2 lb fresh basil leaves
2 large cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Add first 4 ingredients to bowl of food processor and pulse until smooth. Add pinch each sea salt and pepper. Process for an additional few seconds. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Top leftover pesto with additional olive oil, cover and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Other 4th of July themed recipes you may enjoy:

It is "4th of July themed recipes" week at Food Network's #Summer Soiree roundup.
Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Have a favorite 4th of July recipe?  Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one.

The Heritage Cook: Firecracker Salad
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Brazilian Acai Breakfast Bowl
Weelicious: Magical Fruit Wands
Virtually Homemade: Traditional Potato Salad
Dishing With Divya: Red, White and Blue Fruit Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Mini Cherry Blueberry Pies
Daily*Dishin: Dilly Potato Salad

napa farmhouse 1885

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.