Thursday, July 15, 2010

Awesome Appetizer - Stuffed Baby Peppers

One Sunday morning, I got stuck watching the Food Network, and one of my favorite chefs Giada De Laurentiis, and she made an easy and delicious appetizer I had to try for myself. Here's the recipe:

Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces thinly sliced proscuitto
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
garlic salt and pepper
12 (2 to 3-inch long) sweet baby peppers

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the proscuitto and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the proscuitto and drain on paper towels. Add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the onion, proscuitto, cheeses, and corn. Season with garlic salt and pepper, to taste.

Using a paring knife, cut 1/2-inch from the stem-end of the peppers. Remove the seeds and veins. Using a small dessert spoon, fill each pepper with the ricotta mixture. Place the filled peppers on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the peppers begin to soften. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Arrange the peppers on a platter and serve. Perfect for a warm summer night! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer Rolls

Ever go to your favorite sushi or Asian restaurant and crave those light and fresh summer rolls? They are so easy to make and a perfect summertime recipe for any get together! Your local Asian market is just the place to get all the ingredients you need.

1 Package of Rice Paper (Spring roll wrappers)
1 Package of Bean Strings
1 Cucumber, sliced lengthwise
4 Green onions, sliced lengthwise
1 Carrot, sliced lengthwise
1 tsp chopped Ginger
Small shrimp, cooked with the tails cut off
Rice Vinegar

Warm some water in a sauce pan or large bowl. Chop all veggies and prepare shrimp. Prepare the rice wraps by soaking them one by one in the warm water for 5-10 seconds. Once soft, place ingredients in the center, sprinkle on a little rice vinegar and cilantro, fold over the top and bottom, then the right side and roll. Serve with spicy Thai sauce or Peanut Sauce (recipe to follow).

For typical Asian spring rolls, complete the process above, but fry the roll in oil in low heat until crispy. This recipe can be used with any ingredients you like!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tantalizing Tomatoes

I love summer for outdoor parties, days at the beach, and fresh fruits and vegetables. And there is nothing better than a fresh summer tomato... on a salad, in homemade tomato sauce, or as a great appetizer for your summer get together. Here, a fabulous and easy recipe:

10 Plum Tomatoes
1 Tbsp Good Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Good Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Dried herbs (I used Sage and Thyme, but a good Italian Seasoning variety will also work)
Salt & Pepper

Preheat your oven to 20 degrees. Mix the oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Quarter the tomatoes and dig out the seeds. Lightly toss the tomatoes in the mixture and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 3-4 hours, or until the edges turn brown and the oil/vinegar had soaked into the tomatoes. Remove from the oven and either serve, or store them in a sealed container for up to a week in the refrigerator.

I paired these tomatoes with a slice of fresh mozzarella. However, they would also be awesome in a salad, on a flat bread pizza, or mixed in a cream sauce over chicken and pasta. Or find your own uses and let me know! These tantalizing tomatoes will make you want summer to stay around all year!