Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Caprese Pasta

Is there anything better than a Caprese salad made with juicy summer tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, garden basil, sweet balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper? It's one of the pure joys of this time of year, and it was the inspiration for this pasta dish. The sauce is made from ripe tomatoes and fresh basil, and it requires no cooking. It has all the flavors of a Caprese salad, making it a great, simple summer dinner.

Caprese Pasta

-3 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
-3 cloves garlic, peeled
-handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
-3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-1/2 cup olive oil
-pinch of crushed red pepper
-salt & pepper

-1 lb. whole wheat angel hair pasta

-fresh mozzarella, cut into bite size pieces
-cherry tomatoes, quartered
-pine nuts
-small basil leaves for garnish

-Place the tomatoes, garlic, basil, red pepper and vinegar in a food processor and blend, drizzling the olive oil in as it spins. Blend until almost smooth. The sauce will be soupy. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to marinate.

-Cook pasta according to package. Drain well, put back in pot, and toss with sauce.

-Serve topped with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts. If you have a good aged balsamic for drizzling, this is the dish to use it on.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

pork tacos with green tomato salsa

I picked up some goodies at my local farmer's market over the weekend. I had no plans for what to get when I went, so it was sort of random. An ugly heirloom tomato (which I ate by itself with salt and pepper.... one of the absolute joys of summer), a green tomato, and orange tomato and a head of cabbage. I also had 2 more Cayenne peppers from my little garden. Hmmmm. When it doubt, make salsa, right? Right. That's what happened with the tomatoes and pepper. What about the cabbage? I had salsa, I had tortillas... I love cabbage on fish tacos. Boom fish tacos. Too bad I didn't have fish in the freezer like I thought. I did have some pork chops though. Pork tacos. It was fate.

Green Tomato Salsa

-1 large green tomato, diced
-1 medium orange tomato, diced
-1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
-2 cayenne peppers, minced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-handful of thinly sliced green onion
-1 Tablespoon agave nectar
-Juice of 1 lemon
-1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
-salt & pepper

-combine all ingredients. Store in fridge.

Pork tacos

-3 boneless pork chops, sliced thin
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1/2 teaspoon coriander
-1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
-1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-2 teaspoons Mexican oregano, ground between your palms
-1 Tablespoon Tapatio hot sauce
-2 Tablespoons tequila
-1 Tablespoon olive oil
-salt and pepper

Marinate the pork slices in the rest of the ingredients for at least 20 minutes. Heat a bit of oil in a skillet, add the pork, marinade and all to the skillet, and cook until the pork is no longer pink. Add a splash of water to the skillet, turn down the heat, and let the pork simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve on toasted flour tortillas with shredded raw cabbage and green tomato salsa.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sushi Ceviche

Once I had Ceviche at a Sushi joint. Ceviche is not a Japanese dish, and the Ceviche at this sushi joint reflected that, with it's jalapenos, lime, avocados. It made sense, though, I suppose, what with all the raw fish laying around. But why not make it with more Japanese flavors? Like a sushi salad, almost? So that's what I have done.

And it works! Of course it does! Logical, really. A perfect summer dish. The freshness of the cucumber and lemon, the crunch of the daikon, the saltiness of the furikake and soy sauce, the umami of the fish and edamame. If you like sushi, this is a fool-proof way to get the flavors and textures at home pretty easily and without skill.
Sushi Ceviche

-5 inches of a seedless cucumber, cut into small cubes
-5 inches of a daikon radish, cut into short matchsticks
-1 cup cooked and cooled shelled edamame
-handful of chopped green onion tops
-1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
-1/2 lb. tuna steak, cut into small cubes
-2 Tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
-Juice from 2 lemons
-1 Tablespoon soy sauce
-1 Tablespoon Wasabi Furikake

-Rice crackers for serving
-Dried Shiso for garnish

Mix everything but the crackers and Shiso together, using your hands if possible so you can get the fish cubes coated with the acids. The acids essentially "cook" the fish without heat. Let the Ceviche chill in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes, then serve on rice crackers or over cold rice. Sprinkle with dried Shiso.

Friday, July 09, 2010

lemongrass pork with spicy cucumber salad

For tonight's dinner I wanted to use my first ever cayenne pepper from my first ever garden. I was inspired by a dish I had last night at my new favorite place, Bobo Noodle house, lemongrass steak with a spicy cucumber salad, in which the cucumber had been made into fine noodle-like shreds. I decided to get a pork chop and a cucumber and try something similar.

My first ever pepper! I grew that! Wooo!

Spicy Cucumber Salad

-1 regular cucumber, shredded down to the seeds with a mandoline
-1 small red chili pepper, minced
-1 clove garlic, minced
-3 Tablespoons white vinegar
-2 Tablespoons soy sauce
-1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
-1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
-1 Tablespoon honey
-1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

-Combine all with a fork so that all the cucumber shreds are well coated. Set aside in fridge.

Lemongrass Pork

-1 boneless thick cut pork steak, sliced thin
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 Tablespoon lemongrass paste
-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-2 Tablespoons soy sauce
-1 teaspoon fish sauce
-1 Tablespoon white vinegar
-1 teaspoon honey

Combine all ingredients in a bowl let marinate while rice cooks, about 30 minutes. Cook in a little bit of oil in a skillet. Serve with Spicy Cucumber Salad over rice.