Thursday, July 30, 2009

Orecchiette Broccoli Alio e Olio

One of the simplest and most delicious pasta dishes is made with a garlic and Olive oil dressing. The trick is to fry up the garlic until it gets that beautiful golden colour - you'll know by the fragrance. I took the recipe from Canadian Living but this is the oldest recipe I know. I actually prefer it with rapini instead of broccoli, but both are equally delish. You can use any pasta, but orecchiette are my all time favorite. Especially home made. Also, I tend to be a little generous with the olive oil. Enjoy...:-)

Orecchiette Broccoli, Alio e Olio
1 bunch broccoli
4 cups (1 L) orecchiette
2 tbsp (25 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves
6 anchovy fillets, chopped
1/2 tsp (2 mL) hot pepper flakes
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/4 cup (50 mL) grated parmigiano

Cut broccoli into small florets; chop stems. In large pot of boiling salted water, cook broccoli until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to bowl of ice water. Drain and set aside.

In same pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until tender but firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Reserving 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the cooking liquid, drain and return to pot.
Meanwhile, in nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Fry garlic, anchovies, hot pepper flakes and salt until garlic is fragrant and anchovies begin to break down, about 2 minutes.
Add broccoli to skillet; cook until heated through and garlic is beginning to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add to pasta along with reserved cooking liquid; toss to coat. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
Photo and Original recipe from Canadian Living

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer Salmon Dinner

I made this the other night and realized it is absolutely Blog worthy. It's one of my all time favorites for family and friends. It's a perfect menu for a dinner party with a group of people who have mixed diets.. It's wheat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Nut free. So pretty much everyone will enjoy the same meal, except for the odd fish hater. Don't invite them !!

Cedar Planked Salmon, Grilled Asparagus & Roasted Potatoes
Cedar Planked Salmon
1 Salmon Fillet, about 2 lbs
fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Cedar Plank

You honestly don't need much else, but you can add anything from a sprinkle of ginger or some dill, to a couple of tablespoons of your favorite fish or poultry rub.


Soak Cedar plank in water 30 min to 4 hours. Min 1/2 hour - have a water bottle ready, to spray plank cause it will likely catch fire on BBQ. 4 hour soak, lost of smoke - no fire.. have the water bottle handy anyway.

Season Salmon with Salt, Fresh ground pepper and lemon juice. Add your favorite Seasoning or rub. Remove cedar plank from water and lightly coat with a little olive oil. Place seasoned fish on plank (fish skin side down) and close grill lid. Maintain temperature at 350F for approximately 20-30 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes in large chunks.

Serves 4

Grilled Asparagus
1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat grill for high heat. Lightly coat the asparagus spears with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill over high heat for 4 to 6 minutes, or to desired tenderness.

Options: a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar can add some sweetness.

Serves 4

Roasted Potatoes

3 pounds small red or white potatoes
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs of fresh Rosemary, leaves stripped.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Toss until the potatoes are well coated. Transfer the potatoes to a sheet pan and spread out into 1 layer. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning.

This recipe serves 8, potatoes always disappear quickly.

I hope to have my own pics going soon, but my kids make it awefully difficult to plate a meal and photograph it. So in the mean time, Pictures borrowed from the following:

1. Salmon Flickr 2 Asparagus My Northwest 3 Potatoes Food Network

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pizza Fresca

It is my all time favorite food. Home-made Pizza with a few simple ingredients - for me it's like bread and should always have a place on the table. Pizza will be a recurring theme here because there are so many incredibly delicious ways to top it up. Add ImageEvery region of Italy has it's specialty pizza, and all are to be enjoyed. One thing is for certain, a pizza is best when it has just a few select toppings. If you can't decide, which is often my problem, divide the dough and make smaller rounds so you can truly savour the ingredients. Here is my basic recipe for dough, but you can play around with it and make it your own.
Pizza Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour (sometimes I mix 1 cup of whole wheat flour, and one cup regular)
1 package of dry yeast (or 2 1/2 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm water, plus more as needed
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. In a large separate bowl, combine flour and salt, stirring until smooth. Add yeast and water,and mix by hand or with mixer. Add olive oil. Continue mixing until dough comes away from bowl but is still sticky.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead with lightly floured hands. Work until dough is smooth and soft (add flour as needed) and transfer to lightly oiled bowl. Coat top with a touch of oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, about 45 minutes.

La Margherita
Tomatoes, Bocconcini and Basil
Spinach and Mozzarella
Photo Credits: 1. Food Network (Jamie Oliver), 2. & 3. Martha Stewart

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tuscan Inspired Dining

Veranda Magazine
A perfect summer outdoor table. Filled with my favorites, Fresh Contadina Olives, Cured Salsice, a Beautiful Parmigianno and Fresh Bread. Growing up, my father worked near a cheese maker and on Saturday's he would pick up ricotta while it was still hot. Then he'd shop for thin sliced prosciutto, hot olives and freshly baked bread. When he walked in the door, we would set the table quickly so we could enjoy the Bread and Ricotta while they were still warm.