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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sliced Pear with Prosciutto and Honey

Are you craving a salty-sweet snack?

If you have one pear, one slice of prosciutto and a teaspoon of honey on hand, you can whip up a tray of these in a jiffy!

Today's Playlist

  • "No Rain"...Blind Melon
  • "I'm Shakin'"...Jack White
  • "Dani California"...Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "Dirty Little Secret"...All-American Rejects
  • "Riptide"...Vance Joy
  • "Everybody Talks"...Neon Trees

Sliced Pear with Prosciutto and Honey
  • 1 medium-sized pear (I used an anjou pear, use what you like)
  • 1 paper-thin slice of prosciutto
  • 1 teaspoon honey
Note: the prosciutto may be baked in advance.  To prevent the pear from turning brown, however, it should not be sliced too far in advance of serving!

Gather your ingredients.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place the prosciutto onto the parchment.  When your oven is ready, bake the prosciutto until crisp (about 10 minutes).

Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

While you're waiting for the prosciutto to cool down, slice your pear into slices approximately 1/4-inch thick.  Discard the two end slices.

Stack the slices and slice through the middle.

Use a paring knife to remove any seeds/discoloration from the center of the slices.

Arrange the slices onto a serving platter.

Place the honey into a small bowl or dish and microwave on HIGH for 10 seconds.  This will cut down on the viscosity of the honey and make it easier to brush onto the pears.

Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the surface of the slices with honey.  

Brushing the pears with honey helps the crumbled prosciutto to stick to the slices and not fall off and go down the front of your shirt when you bite into the pear.

Not that I would know anything about that.

Crumble the slice of prosciutto over the pear slices and serve immediately.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Watermelon Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

I swear all it takes is a few days of mild (60's) temperature and I'm practically in full summer mode.

And when I spot a perfect wedge of watermelon in the produce department--it's out of season, what am I doing even looking in that direction (see full summer mode, above)--I can't help but decide that one way to validate my summer mood is to make a watermelon salad.

It was so good I went back to the store the next day and bought another piece of make another salad with.  I changed up the ingredients a bit with the second one--used a different cheese (seared halloumi, omg), different nuts, different greens.  The only constants were watermelon and a simple balsamic vinaigrette (if you have balsamic vinegar, olive oil and dijon mustard on hand you can whip up your own dressing in 30 seconds).

Feel free to substitute the salad ingredients to suit your taste preferences!

Today's Playlist

  • "Funky But Chic"...New York Dolls
  • "Runaway Train"...Soul Asylum
  • "The Zephyr Song"...Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "You Shook Me All Night Long"...AC/DC

Watermelon Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Printable Recipe

  • 6 cups cubed seedless watermelon
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 3 cups arugula
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
vinaigrette ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

Gather your ingredients.

To make the vinaigrette: add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard into a small bowl.

Stir with a fork until combined.

Prep your ingredients: cut the watermelon into bite-sized cubes and chop the scallions.

To assemble the salad: place the watermelon, scallions, feta and pistachios into a large bowl.

Stir gently to combine.

Add the arugula.

And the spinach.  

 Add a grind or two of fresh pepper, to taste.  Lightly drizzle with half of the dressing and toss to coat.

Serve the remaining dressing on the side.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Chicken Farro Soup

Now that spring is arriving, I'm finally getting around to posting the recipe for my family's favorite soup from this past winter!

Better late than never, I suppose.

I make a lot of soup during the winter, usually two or three different types at a time.  My girls prefer Broccoli Cheddar, Mr. Terrific's favorite is French Onion, my son likes chicken noodle.  Typically, the winter ends and there's one soup that had been the go-to soup for the season.  Last winter, it was Southwestern Chicken Soup.  

This winter, Chicken & Farro soup was the favorite!  It's not much different from chicken noodle soup...instead of celery I use fennel and instead of noodles I substitute farro.  Farro is a grain, often used in Italian cooking, and if I had to describe it I would say that it's fluffy...yet chewy.  

Make sense, much?

Just give it a try!  It's yummy, I promise.

Today's Playlist
  • "The Way You Look Tonight"...Frank Sinatra
  • "Bella Notte"...Lou Monte
  • "Everybody Loves Somebody"...Dean Martin
  • "Everything"...Michael Buble
  • "Runaround Sue"...Dion

Chicken Farro Soup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 stalks fennel, sliced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1/2 cup farro
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large (or 2 small) bay leaves
  • 8 cups chicken broth

Gather your ingredients.  Missing from this picture:  the chicken!

It was sitting in the fridge.  Leave it to me to forget to grab the main ingredient when I'm getting everything together.

Prep your veggies: slice & dice the fennel, carrots & onion.  Use two forks to shred your chicken.

I also put aside a few of the wispy fronds from the tops of the fennel stalks.  I will chop them and use them as a garnish when I serve the soup.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium-large (6 to 8-quart) pot.

Add the fennel, carrots and onion.  Crush the garlic directly into the pan.  Saute the veggies for about 5 to 6 minutes, until they are softened and you start to see a bit of color on the bottom of the pan.

Add the chicken...

...the sprigs of thyme and the bay leave(s).

Add the farro as well.

Pour in the chicken broth and stir.  Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Allow the soup to simmer (uncovered) at a low simmer for about 40 minutes, until the farro is cooked.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper.

Remember to remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves before serving!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Cooking Show: Chocolate!!

We filmed an episode of the cooking show last week.  My friend, Joanie, cooked with me and we had a blast whipping up a few chocolatey treats!

Dan The Awesome Cameraman suggested the Chocolate theme. Chocolate cake with raspberry mousse filling and buttercream frosting, chocolate mini muffins and sea salt caramel chocolate crispy treats were on the menu.

Before I give you the links to the recipes, we need to discuss an on-camera failure!  Trying to keep it real, during the show we typically discuss how cooking fails happen and it's not the end of the world. Our show is basically a bunch of us hanging out in my kitchen, filming while we cook, and no time for re-doing anything.  Eventually, something was going to fail and end up on camera!

And fail I did.  You may think that you are looking at a cake with messy frosting.  Let me turn it around so you can get a better look!

Despite the utensil that I stuck in the middle to hold the layers steady, we waited too long after we put the mousse in the middle and before I could frost it the layers started slip-slidin' away.

It looks like it's blowing a big ol' raspberry at me.  Get it? Raspberry mousse? #seewhatIdidthere

The cake needs to chill for a couple of hours before it can be sliced, so I had baked another cake ahead of filming so that we would have a chilled one ready to slice.  Whew.  

We laughed at the ugly cake and sliced the pretty one for the camera.  I think it would have been fun to do a blind taste taste!  Here's the printable recipe.

Another recipe that I had prepared a batch in advance because they need to chill before you slice them.

Two batches of these treats are not a bad thing!  Here's the printable recipe for the non-chocolate make them chocolate, simply substitute cocoa crispy rice cereal for plain cereal, and (if you have it on hand) chocolate extract for the vanilla extract.

According to my daughter, "They're a perfect little chocolate cake."  And that just about tells you all you need to know!  Here's the printable recipe.