Tomato-Olive Summer Salad

The spice is right

Originally appeared in the July 29, 2010 edition of the Southside Times.

Summer menus are peppered with lighter fare—specialty salads, succulent fruits, and vibrant vegetables.  It’s also a season when our personal menus aren’t quite as “heavy.”  Yet all too often I hear complaints that some low-fat, low-sodium recipes are too bland or too boring.  Here’s a solution:  using fresh herbs and dry spices is an ideal way of eating “lighter” without sacrificing flavor.  More after the jump: (more…)

Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Spinach Artichoke Dip

Serves 4

  • 1 ½ ounces small dice onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ ounce melted butter
  • 12 ounces thawed and thoroughly drained frozen spinach, chopped
  • 8 oz. canned artichoke hearts, coarse chop
  • 16 ounces cream sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 t. Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 ounces grated Parmesan
  • To taste, kosher salt
  • To taste, white pepper
  • To taste, Tabasco sauce

1.  In a large pan, lightly sauté the onion and garlic in butter until tender—do not brown.

2.  Add spinach and sauté until hot.

3.  Add artichoke hearts, cream sauce, Worcestershire sauce and 4 ounces of the Parmesan cheese.  Mix well.

4.  Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco.

5.  Transfer dip to an oven-safe dish.  Top with remaining Parmesan cheese and bake at 350° F. until hot and golden brown on top.  Serve with tortilla chips or pita chips.

Cream Sauce

  • 14 fl ounces whole milk
  • 1 ounce all-purpose flour
  • 1 fl ounce melted butter
  • To taste, kosher salt
  • To taste, white pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 drops fresh lemon juice
  • 4 fl ounce heavy cream, scalded

1.  In a medium saucepan, simmer milk.  In a separate saucepan, make white roux with the flour and melted butter.

2.  Gradually whisk in hot milk to the roux, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.  Bring sauce to a boil.  Reduce sauce to a simmer, add seasonings and continue cooking for several minutes.

3.  Add heavy cream and lemon juice.

Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 11:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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Raw food, fresh deal

Originally appeared in the July 22, 2010 edition of the Southside Times

To fully savor the profiles of fresh ingredients, it’s often important to employ labor-intensive techniques to highlight textures and flavors.  But now and again, allowing ingredients to stand alone in their raw state is preferable.

For this installment, I’m not “cooking” in the conventional sense—cooking as in the application of heat to transform an item’s molecular structure and appearance.  This time the cooking’s done by way of a chemical reaction.  Read more after the jump: (more…)

Published in: on July 23, 2010 at 1:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Caprese Pizza for the Grill

Pizza:  No Oven Required

Originally appeared in the July 15, 2010 edition of the Southside Times

If you’ve had your fill of the grill this summer, don’t put away those tongs just yet.  Grilled pizzas are different and delicious.  And because they’re so simple, making your own signature pizza is an enjoyable challenge.  They may sound unconventional, but that’s what makes them fun.  Read more after the jump:  (more…)

Published in: on July 16, 2010 at 6:49 pm  Comments (2)  
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