Tomato & Feta Salad with Fresh Herbs

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I feel like I am cheating here, posting these recipes that hardly count as recipes but fuck it.  This salad is easy, fast & delicious.  My measurements here are loose & open to your interpretation – so feel free to tweak this one as you please.

One note – NEVER put your tomatoes in the fridge!  It damages their flavor & texture.  You can Google the question for lots of thoughts on this but, trust me, counter top only for tomatoes.

This is a fairly decent sized portion of salad & can easily feed 4 as a salad course.  If that is more or less than you need – the basic ratio is equal parts tomato to feta – and the rest you can eyeball.  I used this pomegranate champagne vinegar but any nice white wine vinegar would work.

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Tomato & Feta Salad with Fresh Herbs

INGREDIENTS

2 pints cherry tomatoes (or similar quantity of other tomatoes)

8 ounces good quality feta cheese

1 small red onion – in a 1/4 inch dice

olive oil

Champagne or white wine vinegar

Fresh mint or fresh basil & parsley – minced

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half – alternating the way you halve them.  Or – dice your regular tomatoes.  Cube the cheese into 1/4 inch bits.  Toss the tomato & feta & diced onion with a good drizzle of both olive oil & the vinegar & sprinkle liberally with the herbs of your choice.  Add S&P & serve!

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Blue Cheese with Honey & Toasted Walnuts

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

This isn’t really a recipe.  It is more of a suggestion.  I like blue cheese but do not adore it.  I am not a fan of honey at all.  This appetizer?  Outrageously delicious!  You just need to buy the best quality blue cheese you can find (or Cambozola or brie or Saint Andre – any strong but soft cheese you love).  I got mine at the awesome Super King – which has a pretty amazing deli meat counter with LOTS of delicious cheeses available by the pound.  They also sell walnuts for like $5.50 a pound at their MASSIVE nut counter.   Cashews are about $6 pound.  CHEAP.  I got my honey at Super King, too.

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I’m sure it came from one of the places you are not supposed to by honey from, like China, but Super King had no locally sourced honey.  Surprising because honey is used so much in Middle Easter baking (think baklava).  And – as an aside – do not think a label reading “Distributed by XXX in Glendale, Ca” means it is California honey.  It likely means they bought tons of it from China & just bottled it here.

Anyway – dry toast your nuts (pecans and almonds work, too).

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When they are fragrant & just begin to smoke but are not changing color yet (which happens fast – so watch & stir them the whole time) – remove them from the heat.  Then – just plate the cheese, drizzle lots of honey on it & sprinkle with nuts.  Serve with crusty bread & a box of wine & make yourself very happy.

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Roasted Salmon & Potato Hash with Hominy & Poached Egg

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is my kitchen – where I attempt to make the magic happen.

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I am VERY lucky because it is huge & I designed it myself 16 years ago & it serves me extremely well.  It is a very inspiring place to hang out & in the 16 years I have lived here – I have collected nearly every cooking thingamajiggy you can imagine.  But the dish I present to you today requires only the basics.  A working stove & oven, a roasting pan & a frying pan.  If you are not a confident cook but you want to try one of my dishes, I would recommend this one highly – just maybe substituting fried eggs for poached.

This dish is so delicious, I was astounded.  I came up with it because I was hunting for new things to do with hominy – things that would not involve a ton of cheese.  Hominy seems most often used for breakfast scramble kinds of things and pozole (a traditional Mexican soup – which I will also attempt soon).  I am also still a tad fixated on the idea of poached eggs on things, probably because I haven’t yet mastered the art of poaching eggs nor have I gotten one of those glorious shots of dripping, oozing yolks bleeding yellow onto plates.  Another reason this dish was a perfect choice last night is because I had roasted a hunk of salmon & dressed it with lemon & dill but I didn’t like how it looked – so I couldn’t use it for the blog.  See?  Here it is:

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Not so impressive to look at.  Salmon is cooked when the white fat in it bubbles to the surface.  I tried to wipe it away to make a prettier presentation – but I still didn’t like how it looked enough to post it here as a stand-alone recipe.  Monomaniacally obsessed with only making foods I can use for this blog, I didn’t want to eat that salmon as it was (though it was delicious) because it seemed like a waste of a great blog opportunity.  So – I wrapped it up & left it in the fridge until I figured something out.

This dish could be made with any meat, leftover or otherwise, or without the poached egg.  Lord knows, I ate half the friggin’ potatoes I’d made by simply grabbing a bit every time I passed the stove because they were delicious!  Same with the cold salmon.  But when I tasted it all together with that egg yolk blended in – I was blown away.  The potatoes were savory & delicious & the hominy added the nicest little crunch.  The salmon (which was just a bullshit piece of frozen fish from Trader Joe’s) was clean & fresh & the egg was rich & decadent.  Oh!  And some totally unnecessary $5 micro kale!  This dish is one of my favorite inventions ever.  And – except for the egg poaching – it is EASY!  If poaching the egg intimidates you, maybe fry them instead, but definitely try this dish.  I had it for dinner but it would make an amazing brunch option, too.  You can roast both the salmon & potatoes up to a day ahead & just assemble it last minute.  It is a genuinely easy dish with a few easy-to-find ingredients.  Try it!  Oh!  And here is a great idea to serve with it!  This is equal parts chardonnay & frozen berries – blended.  YUM!  The perfect pre-workout smoothie!

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Roasted Salmon & Potato Hash with Hominy & Poached Egg

feeds between 2-4 depending on your appetites

INGREDIENTS

2 eggs per person being served

2 yellow potatoes – cubed

5-6 red potatoes (or any other potato combo you desire) – cubed

1 medium onion – diced

1/2 lb salmon

2 tsp dry thyme

olive oil

butter

2 jalapenos – seeded & diced (optional)

1 cup hominy – or the full can

1/2 lemon

S&P to taste

Dill or parsley – chopped – as garnish

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 450.

Blend a TBS or so of butter with a TBS or so of olive oil & smear some onto your salmon.  Sprinkle with S&P.  Cook the salmon about 10 minutes – maybe more, maybe less, depending on how thick yours is.  Salmon is ready when the fat bubbles to the surface.  Remove from heat, squeeze some lemon juice onto it, cut it up into cubes so it cools faster & doesn’t continue to cook & set aside.

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Toss the cubed potatoes in about 2 TBS olive oil & season with thyme and S&P.  Roast at 450, stirring every ten minutes, for 30 minutes or more or until golden.   Remove from heat & set aside.

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In a frying pan, heat 2 TBS olive oil & saute the onion & jalapeno until the onion softens & is translucent.  Add the potatoes & hominy & heat through.

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Add more S&P if you think it needs it.  In the last minute before you serve the hash, add the salmon & cook it just until it is warmed.  Do not overcook the salmon.  Set aside on low heat while you poach or fry the eggs.  HERE are some tutorials on poaching.

To serve, simply arrange some hash on each plate, top with your eggs & some dill or parsley & fresh ground pepper.  Devour!

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Breakfast Quesadilla with Hominy & Roasted Jalapenos on a Kale Tortilla

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is less of a recipe & more just an idea.  You can make your breakfast quesadilla with anything you like inside.  This one was made using my freshly made kale tortillas.  I also roasted a few red & green jalapenos.  This is done on your stove top.  Char the outside of the jalapenos until they blacken.  You can do this directly on the burners or by broiling in the oven.  Once blackened, seal them in Tupperware or wrap them in foil for about 15 minutes.  This will sweat the skin off.  Then, under cool running water, roll the blackened skin away & squeeze off the tops & remove the seeds.  Then – chop the jalapenos finely.

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I also used hominy – the food I am currently having an overt affair with.  Shhh!  Don’t tell cauliflower about that!

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I used one egg, some egg whites, diced tomato, cilantro & grated cheddar cheese with the hominy & roasted jalapenos.  It was really delicious!  I whisked some cheese and S&P in the eggs & scrambled them.  Then I heated the tortilla in a dry pan over medium heat, layered the ingredients & folded the tortilla in half.  After a few minutes, I flipped it & once the cheese was melted, I friggin’ ate it!  🙂Image

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Fresh Homemade Kale Tortillas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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These take less effort than you think & are so amazing & satisfying to eat.  The kale gives them a pretty green color but doesn’t change the flavor much.  If kale isn’t your thing, I have a spinach version HERE.

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Fresh Homemade Kale Tortillas

INGREDIENTS

1 bunch kale – stems trimmed

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1-2 tsp salt

5 TBS olive oil

Water

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DIRECTIONS

Submerge the kale in a pot of boiling water for about ten minutes.  Once completely wilted, scoop it out with a slotted spoon & cool in in cold water.  RESERVE the hot kale water.  Squeeze all the water out of the kale, put the dry ball into a measuring cup & then add the hot kale water until you have 1 1/2 cups with the ball of kale in there.  If there isn’t enough kale water – just add more tap water.  Set aside.

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In your food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder & salt until blended.  Add the olive oil & pulse until it is incorporated.  Add the kale & pulse it in & then add the kale water in a slow stream & pulse until it is completely incorporated and the dough has formed a tacky ball & is traveling around the bowl.  You might not need all the water – you might need a bit extra.  If it is too sticky – just add a bit more flour & pulse it around.

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Put the dough on a lightly floured surface & roll it around to eliminate any tackiness that remains.  Dived the dough into four balls & then divide each of those four balls into three more balls.  Each ball should be about the size of a golf ball.  Let the dough rest 10 minutes or so.

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Roll out each ball as flat & thin as you can – or until they are about 8 inches across.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Do not use any oil or cooking spray.   Leave the pan dry.  Cook each tortilla on each side about 20 seconds or until brown spots begin to appear.  Over cooking will make them crispy so err on the side of under-cooking.

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Store under a clean kitchen towel as you cook all 12 tortillas.

These can be stored at room temperature in a zip-lock bag on your counter for several days.  Rewarm in the oven wrapped in foil or between damp paper towels in the microwave.

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Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” with Dill & Cheddar

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Another in what must seem like an endless chain of cauliflower recipes.  This is so delicious – I ate the entire thing myself last night.  The amount of cheese is up to you.  I went light to save calories but more would have been a lot better.  This takes a total of 10-15 minutes once you have boiling water.  Try it at least once!

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Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” with Dill & Cheddar

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower

1/8-1/4 cup fresh dill plus more for garnish

1/4 cup grated cheddar plus more for garnish

1 TBS butter

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Cut the cauliflower in half or quarters & add to boiling water.  Boil about ten minutes.  Leave it in the hot water until you are ready to serve it because it comes together fast but gets cold fast, too.   When ready to serve it – simply puree everything in the bowl of your food processor.  Garnish with a little extra cheese, dill sprigs & some freshly ground pepper.  Hover over it like a fucking prison inmate & shovel it in your face with zero dignity.  Grunting sounds optional.

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Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper Broccoli

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is easy & takes about 20 minutes.  The amount of garlic & crushed red pepper are your call.  I went pretty heavy with them.

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Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper Broccoli

INGREDIENTS

1 lb of broccoli – cut into florets

6 cloves garlic – minced

1 TBS (or less) crushed red pepper

2 TBS olive oil

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450.   Toss broccoli florets with the olive oil & spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast for ten minutes then add the garlic, crushed red pepper and S&P.  Carefully toss & roast another 8 minutes or so.  Be sure to stir the broccoli & garlic once or twice so the garlic doesn’t burn.

Serve!

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