Friday, June 29, 2012

golden ears of summer

With the hot (like 106 degrees) hot days of summer comes such delicious seasonal food like watermelon, summer squash and corn. Oh corn, yum! First up was pasta with fresh corn and tomatoes and then chicken sausage empanadas with corn and black beans.
Light and delicious!
Kosher salt
2 ears
corn, shucked3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup white wine

8 ounces short
pasta - I used egg noodles
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 small bunch scallions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
Fresh parsley for topping

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Remove with tongs, reserving the boiling water. Let the corn cool slightly, then cut off the kernels. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook until the tomatoes soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the corn water as the label directs. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the broth and corn kernels to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta to the skillet; add the scallions, Parmesan, the remaining butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss to combine, adding the reserved cooking water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Top with parsley.
This recipe definitely yields enough filling for extra empanadas - with one pie crust I made about 12
and had leftover filling. If you add some rice to the filling you have a delicious burrito mix!
In DC, occasionally (after a number of cocktails) we would head to Julia's Empanadas. These chicken sausage empanadas actually hold up against the original.
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 ears of corn, cooked and cut from the cob

1- 14 ounce can black beans, drained
chicken sausages, cooked and chopped (I used a cheddar-jalapeno sausage)
2 tablespoons cream cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400
 Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pan over medium high heat and add onion, garlic and jalapeno to pan and saute until onions become translucent and veggies are tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add cumin, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste and cook for a minute more. Add beans, corn, and chicken sausage and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and add cheese cheese into mixture stirring to combine. Roll out chilled dough and using a large circular cookie cutter (or the mouth of a large mug-like me) cut circles out of dough. Place 1/2 Tablespoon of mixture into center of the circle. Fold in half, making sure the mixture stays inside the dough and crimp sides shut with a fork. Place stuffed empanadas on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly brown and crisp.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

windy city

I spent a few days this week in Chicago for an industry conference. What a city - manageable and fun, we had a great time.
Good drinks, great company, wonderful few days.
We started off with lunch at Markethouse Restaurant in Streeterville (north of The Loop and off N. Michigan Avenue). For a pre-shopping lunch, this farm-to-table style eatery hit the spot. Then off to Michigan Ave for some shopping - I could go nuts here! Nordstrom's Rack was a particular highlight. Dinner on Wednesday was amazing - Sunda New Asian restaurant had unique sushi and asian specialties.
Thursday was a long day of conference sessions and networking followed by cocktail hours at Quay Restaurant and Bar and C-View rooftop bar at Mile North Hotel. Our dinner was delicious and relaxing at Bandera on N. Michigan Avenue. We had a corner table over-looking the bustling Magnificent Mile. This restaurant was a suggestion from my brother's girlfriend - she gave us the perfect place for an amazing dinner. My entree of butternut squash and white cheddar enchiladas was delicious. We finished up the night at Vertigo - oh the dancing. Our Chicago escape was busy, but it was so great to explore the city with friends and reconnect with some former colleagues. Until next year!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


A few weeks ago, I used a Scoutmob deal at The Jam Coffee House in Nashville and had a delicious breakfast sandwich. Simple, yet delicious flavors paired with egg - I recreated the sandwich (open-faced) for dinner last week.
Serves 2
4 eggs - sunny side up or over easy
2 whole grain English muffins
1/4 cup pesto (I had some frozen cilantro & avocado pesto that was perfect)
1 small ripe tomato
This dish comes together very quickly! Toast the English muffins and spread the pesto on each side. Assemble thinly sliced tomato and eggs on top. We enjoyed our open-faced egg sandwiches with Alexia's spicy sweet potato fries and a fresh salad. Dinner in about 15 minutes? Yes please.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Arugula - a word I often misspell. Arugala? Arugela? No - two"u's!" Delicious roasted eggplant and arugula salad inspired by Laylita's Recipes.
1 large eggplant
2-3 cups arugula
½ cup raisins
5 tablespoons EVOO
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1-2 teaspoons of your favorite mixed herbs (Provence or a butcher's blend - anything with some savory spices like oregano, thyme, rosemary...)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the eggplant and cube into bite-sized pieces. Toss
eggplant with 2 tablespoons EVOO, garlic and S&P. "Pam" a cookie sheet and assemble
eggplant in a single layer for roasting. Roast for about 15-20 minutes, tossing after 10
minutes. Meanwhile prepare a salad dressing with the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, remaining EVOO, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Shake the dressing very well. Toss the  eggplant pieces and raisins with about half of the dressing (this dressing is great on any salad and will likely have some leftover). Arrange the arugula leaves on a flat serving platter and place eggplant pieces in the center, sprinkle with lemon zest. 
A hearty vegetarian dish.

Monday, June 11, 2012

a new dish with an old cut

Whenever I have skirt or flank steak, we end up having fajitas. I love (love) fajitas, but last week I was over bell peppers. Red, yellow, orange - they all were kind of annoying me, and I yet I had a hankering to prepare skirt steak. Dilemna. What to do with this sometimes rather tough cut? A spin on a Food Network's fast weeknight recipe was the answer.
Skirt steak with olive & tomato tapenade on a bed of arugula served with Parmesan couscous
1/2 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons Wochestershire
1/4 cup EVOO
Dash of Tabasco
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
Marinate 1 pound of flank or skirt steak in the following mixture (up to eight hours) in the refrigerator. Remove about 20 minutes prior to grilling.
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 small-medium tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
Preheat a grill to high.
Pulse the olives, red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon in a food processor; season with salt and pepper.
Pierce the steak all over with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Rub 1 heaping tablespoon olive mixture all over the steak, then set aside, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toss the remaining olive mixture with the tomatoes, parsley, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the juice of the remaining 1/2 lemon in a small bowl. 
Grill steak for about 3 to 4 minutes per side for a lovely rare to medium rare. Allow to rest for a minutes and then slice against the grain.