Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes and Toasted Crumbs

summer pasta-2     It’s the perfect late summer pasta dish although I can already imagine that I will be throwing this together to bring a little sunshine to a cold winter day as well.  Make the crumbs whenever you like…they keep wonderfully in a zip lock in the freezer…then put the tomato salad together an hour before you want to serve to give the flavors time to develop.  Last minute just boil the pasta, toss, toss, sprinkle, sprinkle and you’re done!

Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes and Toasted Crumbs

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf rustic bread
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 shallots (peeled and minced)
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1lb spaghetti
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (grated)

Directions

For the toasted crumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the crust from the bread then cut the bread into large cubes. Pulse in a food processor until crumbs are small. In a large bowl, toss the bread crumbs with the 1/2 cup olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring frequently, until crumbs are golden brown. Cool and reserve.
for the cherry tomato salad
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots, vinegars and honey. Add the oil slowly and whisk well. Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Combine in a medium bowl with the vinaigrette and let rest for one hour.
for the pasta
3. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a generous tablespoon of salt. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the cherry tomatoes. Top with slivers of fresh basil, the toasted crumbs and grated parmesan. Serve right away so that the crumbs will stay crispy.

Tomato, Arugula and Quinoa Salad with Miso Vinaigrette

miso dressingAlthough I love this simple combination of sweet cherry tomatoes, spicy baby arugula and nutty red quinoa, it is the wonderful miso vinaigrette that needs to be your take-away keeper recipe from this post.  Simple to whisk together, this vinaigrette will keep for several days in a jar in the fridge and is positively addictive.  I love to use it as a sauce for the veggie sushi that I pick up at Whole Foods, as a marinade for fish and seafood, or just a super tasty salad dressing.  Homemade dressings are infinitely better than the store bought variety and they only take seconds to prepare.

 

Tomato, Arugula and Quinoa Salad with Miso Vinaigrette

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons white miso
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1-2 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup extra-light olive oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1 pint sweet cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 bag baby arugula
  • 1 1/2 cup red quinoa (cooked and cooled, see package instructions)

Directions

for the vinaigrette
1. Whisk first 6 ingredients together until smooth (or use your Magic Bullet or other blended). Add olive oil and blend or whisk vigorously until you have a creamy dressing.
for the salad
2. Toss salad ingredients with 1/4 cup of the miso vinaigrette and toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store remaining vinaigrette refrigerated in a jar or other sealed container.

 

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Buckle

 

blueberry buckleThis is a great time to try this old favorite of mine..…the blueberries are big and sweet  in our stores right now and often on sale too. The recipe comes from Pure Flavor, by Kurt Beecher Dammeier. It is a wonderfully moist coffee cake….perfect for breakfast, brunch or after school snack.  Here are 5 steps you can take the night before so that serving it fresh and warm in the morning will be a breeze.

1. Make the topping and store in a zip lock bag in the frig.

2. Wash the blueberries.

3. Mix the dry ingredients together.

4. Prepare the cake pan and store in the frig.

5. Set the butter out to soften.

Otherwise, it keeps well in the frig for 2 days and can be warmed in the microwave (just a few seconds)

 

Blueberry Buckle

Serves 6-8
Meal type Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable
From book Adapted from Pure Flavor, by Kurt Beecher Dammeier
A wonderfully moist blueberry lemon coffee cake.

Ingredients

Topping

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • pinchsalt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Base

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 Large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups milk (at room temperature)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

Directions

Topping
1. Combine the flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt in a small bowl. Using a fork, cut the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Base
2. Use a hand held mixer or a stand mixer with the flat beater attachment. Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, scraping the bowl once or twice while mixing. Blend in the vanilla and lemon zest. Ad the egg and mix on medium speed to combine, scraping the bowl once.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Add the milk and the flour mixture alternately to the butter mixture, beating until smooth on medium speed after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, top with blueberries and sprinkle with the topping.
5. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the buckle.
6. The buckle will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. you can also wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it for up to one month.

 

 

 

Honey Jalapeño Chicken Tenders

Honey Jalapeno Chicken 2For summertime grilling, this is one of the easiest, quickest and tastiest recipes you will find.  It only takes 2-3 minutes per side to cook chicken tenders on a hot grill which is one reason why this marinade from The Farm, by Ian Knauer, is so great…the honey caramelizes very quickly so you get a wonderful glazed char before the chicken is overcooked. Most of the heat in a jalapeño is in the seeds so use them to control the spiciness of this dish.  I scrape out most of the seeds, letting just a random few into the marinade and that makes for chicken tenders with just a little kick, suitable for kids and adults alike.

Honey Jalapeño Chicken Tenders

Serves 6-8
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Appetizer, Main Dish
Occasion Barbecue
From book The Farm, by Ian Knauer
Quick and easy chicken tenders for the grill.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 6 jalapeño peppers (chopped, (see note above about seeds))
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (finely grated)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3lb chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • sour cream for serving

Directions

1. Preheat the grill to high and oil the grill rack.
2. Whisk together the honey, soy sauce, oil, garlic, jalapeños, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken in the marinade and let stand for at least 15 minutes at room temperature or cover an refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
3. Frill the chicken until well browned and cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side. Serve sprinkled with cilantro with sour cream on the side.

 

Asparagus Tartine

asparagus tartine-3A tartine is simply an open-faced sandwich and here is the perfect one for a glorious spring day.  Look for big, meaty spears with tightly closed tips that signify freshness.  Did you know that the diameter of asparagus spears relates to the maturity of the plant?  I takes 2 or 3 years before asparagus plants are well established enough, with spears big enough, to harvest.  And so I do imagine that the day the asparagus begins to nudge its way out of the soil must be one of a gardener’s favorite days!   Recipe adapted from Cicchetti, and other small Italian Plates to Share, by Lindy Wildsmith and Valentina Sforza.

 

 

 

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1 pound asparagus

4 eggs

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons mayonaise

salt and pepper

1 fresh baguette, or other good, fresh crusty bread, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a simmer.  Carefully lower the eggs into the water and simmer for 12 minutes.  While eggs are cooking, prepare a bowl of ice water.  Remove eggs from hot water and immediately place them into the ice bath  to cool.  Meanwhile, trim the asparagus, bring the water in the pot to a boil, add the asparagus and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes, depending on the size of the spears.  Remove the eggs from the ice bath and add more ice so that you can chill the asparagus just as soon as it is ready.

Peel the eggs then chop finely.  When the asparagus is cooled, remove from the ice bath and cut the tips and set them aside to use as the garnish.  Chop the rest of the spears and add to the chopped eggs.  Add the olive oil and mayonnaise and gently stir to combine.  Season well with salt and pepper to taste.

Brush the bread slices with olive oil, toast lightly and let cool.  Spread each tartine with some of the egg salad, top with the reserved asparagus tips then sprinkle with chives.  (The number of servings that this recipe will produce varies greatly based upon the size of the bread you use. You can make around 30 small appetizer servings with a skinny baguette or 6 lunch-sized portions with a larger Italian bread such as the one I used in the photo. Just be sure to save enough asparagus tips to finish your dish.)

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