Cooking With Metachat!

Monday, July 03, 2006

viachicago's orzo pasta salad

One of my favorite summer dishes is an orzo pasta salad. It may be served warm or cold. Here's a general guideline to the recipe. I usually just eyeball everything.

1-1/2 C uncooked orzo pasta
1 C frozen peas, thawed
1/2 C crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoons lemon juice (fresh is best)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Italian dressing to coat
Black pepper and oregano to taste

Boil the pasta for about 9 minutes and then add the frozen peas to thaw out in the pot as well, for 1 additional minute. Drain. Toss orzo and peas with Italian dressing. Stir in cheese, lemon juice, zest, and pepper.

Mmm I need to make some. It's delicious.

viachicago's orzo pasta salad

One of my favorite summer dishes is an orzo pasta salad. It may be served warm or cold. Here's a general guideline to the recipe. I usually just eyeball everything.

1-1/2 C uncooked orzo pasta
1 C frozen peas, thawed
1/2 C crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoons lemon juice (fresh is best)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Italian dressing to coat
Black pepper and oregano to taste

Boil the pasta for about 9 minutes and then add the frozen peas to thaw out in the pot as well, for 1 additional minute. Drain. Toss orzo and peas with Italian dressing. Stir in cheese, lemon juice, zest, and pepper.

Mmm I need to make some. It's delicious.

Fuzzbean's Green Bean and Tomato Salad

Green Bean and Tomato Salad
1lb green beans, cut into 1" lengths
1lb cherry or grape tomatoes
2 oz crumbled feta cheese
4 leaves fresh basil, minced
3 leaves fresh mint, minced
2T lemon juice
Sprinkle salt

Microwave steamer

In the base of the steamer, combine the lemon juice and an appropriate amount of water. Layer the beans on the top rack, cover, and microwave for 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Allow to cool slightly.

Combine the green beans, tomatoes, basil, and mint in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, and stir/toss to distribute. Sprinkle the feta cheese on top.
I'm also a big fan of packet-fish and chicken, which is great for a single person.

Basically, take a big sheet of aluminum foil and fold it in half to get a square. Put a piece of parchment paper on top. Put a chicken breast or fish filet (sole works really well) in the middle.

Now get creative! I've done roma tomatoes, lemon juice, ginger, and cayenne (mix the wets, pour on top, add diced tomatoes); I've done granny smith apple slices and rosemary; squashes and green beans/snow peas can work well (but not too many as they take a while to cook). Citrus is great. Pop in the oven at 400F for about half an hour (depends how thick it is), let sit for a few minutes, then open (be careful of the steam).

REALLY nice to do is a takeoff on the Panera Fuji Apple Chicken Salad--do a packet chicken with granny smiths and rosemary. Let it cool. Chop up a couple of apples, a red onion, wash some lettuce, combine. Add chicken, a handful of pecans, and some cheese (I don't personally care for gorgonzola that much and would probably go for feta instead.) Try a citrus variation with mandarin oranges and lemon juice/orange juice on the chicken.

Speck’s spicy Thai noodles:

Speck’s spicy Thai noodles:

1 package buckwheat soba noodles
1 large red bell pepper
5-6 green onions (white and green parts)
large handful sugar snap peas
optional: small handful Thai basil leaves
optional: broiled chicken breast or tofu

6 T smooth peanut butter
1 T cider vinegar
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
cayenne to taste (lots)

-Cook noodles, rinse with cold water.
-Chop pepper and onions (I like to leave the pea pods whole), add to noodles.
-Mix all sauce ingredients thoroughly, adding HOT water by the tsp until sauce turns light tan and milky.
-Toss and enjoy! Better the second day, after the garlic mellows

Miko's 'famous' strawberry shortcake

I often prepare something people call my 'famous' strawberry shortcake. What's ridiculous is that it's so super basic that it should not be at all famous -- but most people don't make strawberry shortcake any more, so it seems great to them.

Basically, you make a recipe of bisquick biscuits, but instead of separate biscuits you make one giant biscuit and bake it.

Slice your berries, sprinkle with just a little sugar to macerate, let them have a couple hours to get happy.

Then take your giant biscuit and cut the top off. Pour the berries over the biscuit, top with unsweetened whip cream, and serve in pie slices. Aw yeah babe.

Miko's pickled peppers with limes

More with limes: pickled peppers with limes. Slice up red, green, yellow, and orange peppers, limes, and red onions into thin rings. Put them in a plastic container and squeeze lime juice generously over them. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Add jalepeno slices from a jar. Let all this sit for a day or so and then you'll have the tangiest, most delicious thing ever; it's a good fajita topping, but I can eat it as a sort of cold salad just as happily.

Miko's grilled corn

Many people have heard of my grilled corn with lime and tabasco butter. It's killer. That's pretty much all it is: Grill corn with the husk off, melt some butter, squeeze some lime juice into it, pour some tabasco into it, and brush on the corn as it grills. Serve extra with the finished corn. Do be careful not to over-lime the butter; they need to be in balance.

misteraitch's pseudo-Mediterranean salad

Our pseudo-Mediterranean salad of the moment...

Boil: 400g small new potatoes
Hard-boil 3 eggs
Boil/steam 100g-ish green beans

Halve the potatoes, slice the eggs & put in a bowl with the beans and:

1 red onion, finely sliced.
A half dozen ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
A good handful of pitted black olives
50g-ish feta, cubed.

Then, for the dressing, mix:

1 small clove of fresh garlic, chopped/crushed
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp lime juice
5 tbsp x. virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Some basil leaves, chopped
1 smidgeon honey
Salt, pepper

Combine Let it stand for a half hour or so & voilà, Bob’s your uncle. Some avocado goes nicely in there too, otherwise customise as predilection dictates.

GeckoDundee's Socca

I'll give metric measures only because it took me ages to get it just right. If I give imperial eqivalents, you'd just have to go through the trial and error yourselves to get it right.

180g Chick Pea Flour*
250ml Water
90ml Good quality olive oil (+ a little more for the tin)
Tsp salt
2-4 sprigs fresh rosemary

Mix the oil and water in a bowl
Sift in the dry ingredients**
Whisk to the consistency of a firm batter
Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C
Let mixture stand for an hour or two

Take two pizza tins (thin, NY style)
Grease pizza tins with olive oil
Pour in batter
Sprinkle rosemary over mixture
Bake until golden brown (about 20-30 mins)

Serve with green salad, Greek salad, or similar. IT wouldn't hurt to drizzle a little more olive oil over it.

* AKA Gram flour, Besan, Garbanzo flour. Try Indian shops if you can't find it

** There are regional variations. Some include ground cumin seeds (a dry ingredient obviously) instead of rosemary. Others use different flours.
A mix (about 50/50) of chick pea flour and buckwheat flour is traditional somewhere (Corsica?). Once you get the hang of it you can experiment.

bmarkey's Insalata Caprese

This is the perfect summer lunch, and also makes a nice first course at dinner.

Insalata Caprese

You will need:

Tomatoes, preferably Romas, but whatever you have that is fresh will do in a pinch.
Fresh mozzarella – not the plastic stuff that’s indistinguishable from its wrapping, but the stuff that comes in little balls that are kept in water. (I have a theory that this recipe would also probably work with goat cheese or feta, but I’ve yet to try it.)
Fresh basil – if you’re not growing you own, you really should. DO NOT USE DRIED BASIL IN THIS RECIPE.
Extra virgin olive oil. Don’t scrimp here – get the best you can afford. Trust me.
Salt – I like kosher salt for the extra crunch it provides, but table salt will work.
Pepper – fresh ground, black.

Here’s the deal:

Slice the tomatoes into little round wheel-like slices. (If you don't have Roma tomatoes, wedges will do nicely.) Slice the mozzarella into similar rounds. On a plate (one for each person being served), alternate a slice of tomato, a slice of mozzarella, and a basil leaf. I have also seen this served with the basil scattered over the top of the tomato/mozzarella alternation; make your own call here, but I like the idea of a leaf per t/m unit. Now, drizzle the whole thing with the olive oil. Do not drench it – just a nice, light coating is what we’re shooting for here. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serve with some nice crusty bread, maybe a few kalamata if you have them on hand, and a glass of white wine – nothing says summer like Vinho Verde. I’m partial to Arca Nova, myself. Really, though, any relatively dry white would be good.

overanxious ducksqueezer's Mediterranean White Bean Salad

I like this with a hunk of bread:

Mediterranean White Bean Salad

  • 4 Cups cooked or canned white beans
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup slivered red onion
  • 1 yellow bell pepper in 2-inch strips
  • 2 Cups torn up lettuces
Dressing: 1/4 C. olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 large garlic clove, pressed, 1/4 tsp salt, pepper

Combine veggies and beans. Combine dressing ingredients, whisking until blended. Pour dressing on veggie-bean mix, toss, and let sit 4 hours to marinate. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

arse_hat's summer salad (? no name given)

Finely chopped garlic, finely chopped shallots, loosely chopped cucumber, cubed tomatoes, crushed pepper, sea salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Marinate the cucumbers in the balsamic and then salt the tomatoes. Mix pepper with the shallots and toss lightly with some olive oil. Let all sit for an hour.

Drain balsamic from the cucumbers and the excess juice and salt from the tomatoes and mix both with the shallots. Yummy.

For variety use rice, red wine, white wine, or cider vinegar in place of the balsamic. Finely sliced strips of sweet peppers are also a nice addition.

Sasshat's Freezer Cookies

Ok so the major thing to remember is that I never use recipes.
But! here is a reasonable sort of recipe, to taste:
First, mix dry ingredients (1/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tsp salt) in a big ass bowl.
then, add in 3/4 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup butter or margarine, a couple splashes of vanilla.

Mix it all together until it's doughy. If it's too wet, add more confectioners sugar. Too dry (crumbly) add more pb.
Then roll into small balls (ping pong sized). Set aside.

Melt in a double boiler 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, splash o vanilla, and a couple of pats of butter. Melt until melty. Add a sprinkle or two of the confectioners sugar.

Dip the dough balls into the chocolate melty stuff and then lay them to rest on some parchment paper. They will look like truffles.

When they cool, toss them in some more confectioners sugar, throw them in some ziplock baggies, and throw them in the freezer for at least an hour.

They are delicious. They are like a cross between a peanut butter cup, a cookie and a truffle. They last in the freezer forever and don't make your kitchen all hot and sweaty.

GeckoDundee's Gazpacho (for one)

  • Gazpacho (for one)250g (8oz) Ripe, good quality tomatoes
  • Half small cucumber
  • One spring onion (em, eshallot? scallion? like a very little leek, you know the things)
  • Half small red capsicum (bell pepper? red pepper?)
  • Clove garlic15ml (tablespoon) extra virgin olive oil
  • 15ml (tablespoon) sherry vinegar (else a good red wine vinegar, probably not balsamic though)
  • Small slice day old bread, chopped and soaked in water
  • 200ml (8 fl oz) Passata Dry sherry (good quality Fino, Manzailla, or Amontillado) to taste

Peel, deseed, and coarsely chop tomatoes

Dice cucumber and pepper

Finely chop spring onion

Crush garlic

Squeeze water out of bread

Reserve some of the veg for garnish

Blend the rest (including the garlic), with some passata, vinegar and sherry(Take care adding liquid as you will want to get the consistency and flavour balance right; you might not use all the liquid listed above, or you might use it all and still need to add a little water)

Chill (have a glass or two of sangria or sherry while you wait) and serve, garnished with the reserved veggies.

Note: you could roast both the garlic and the pepper before using them, but it's not really necessary.

AlexReynolds' Rice paper rolls

Among other stuff, we're getting bok choi, spring onions, snap peas, arugula, lettuce, squash, garlic scapes, and lots of pesto and cinnamon basil.

On the side, we buy some cucumber, cilantro and mint, and lightly wok-fry up slices of tempeh in sesame oil.

Put aside some peanut sauce, chopped ginger and soy sauce.
Wash and chop up the veggies, prepare the herbs.
Put them in separate bowls with the different sauces.

Put a big bowl of water in the middle of the table.
Soak the rice paper in the bowl but running it underneath the water. You just want to get it wet and then take it out, put it on your plate. The water will soak in and make the rice paper soft.
Fill the middle of the roll with your veggies, tempeh (if you like), herbs and sauce.
Fold up the roll on the sides, roll it up like a crepe and fold in the middle to tighten up.

Eat. Repeat. It's very light eating, a bit of prep work, but perfect for the summer. And lots of fun with guests over.