Monday, June 18, 2012

Little Gems...

I love this time of the year for food.  The fruit and vegetables are so bright, delicious and bountiful.  I sometimes find it difficult to decide which ones to buy...fresh Jersey corn, cantaloupe, berries, broccoli.  I often gravitate toward the tomatoes especially the cherry tomatoes.  They are so sweet and delicious and make the perfect snack or appetizer.

I decided to invite my parents for dinner for Father's Day and kept my dinner simple - crabby portabellas, roasted broccoli raab, basmati rice, and of course, crumb cake for dessert my father's favorite!

Milling around Shoprite I think to myself but what should I make as an appetizer, nothing too frilly and something easy to eat outside on the patio with a glass of wine...hummm.  Then I stumble upon those perfect cherry tomatoes.  I toss them into the cart and then think outside the box and grab some provolone cheese.

After a quick rinse and pat dry I begin to assemble my little gems.  In less than 10 minutes I had a colorful and tasty appetizer that was an incredible was the perfect bite! I served these juicy gems with a balsamic dipping sauce on the side.  Enjoy...

Little Gems...
1 Container of Cherry Tomatoes (rinsed and dried)
1 Block of Sharp Provolone Cheese

Cut the provolone cheese into small cubes
Thread one tomato per toothpick
Place a cube of cheese underneath the tomato
Drizzle with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serve Immediately

*This can be done ahead of time.  Assemble the tomatoes and cheese and place in the refrigerator.  Drizzle with Balsamic Vinaigrette just before serving or serve the vinaigrette on the side as a dipping sauce.

Balsamic Vinaigrette...
1/4 Cup of Balsamic Vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise
2 Teaspoons of Spicy Brown Mustard
1 Teaspoon Sugar
3/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Whisk together balsamic, mayonnaise, mustard and sugar till smooth
Slowly whisk in olive oil and season with salt/pepper to taste

* This can also be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.  Use the remaining vinaigrette as a salad dressing or marinade for chicken.

Monday, June 4, 2012

What's For Lunch...

I decided I was having a macaroni for lunch today and am I so glad I did. I just created a recipe that was so fast, fresh and delicious. I am still eating it while I am typing this blog post - I am that excited to share it with you!  Chances are you probably cannot just whip it up, like I just did, because you are at the office or on the road but you can surely make it tonight when you get home for an amazing alternative to that turkey and cheese on rye.

This recipe was created from the ingredients I had in the kitchen today.   Elbow macaroni, chicken peas (left over from the salad I made the other night), fresh cherry tomatoes, basil and some simple seasoning.  What a lunch for me today- I wonder what I will make tomorrow?

Lunchtime Pasta
1/2 lb. Elbow Macaroni
Lemon Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6-8 Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
1/3 Cup Chick Peas (rinsed and drained)
Basil Leaves (julienned or torn into small pieces)
Parmesan Cheese

Cook the macaroni according to package and drain well
Place pasta in a bowl large enough to toss 
Season with salt and lemon pepper
Drizzle with oil 
Turn to coat
Add tomatoeschick peas and basil 
Turn to coat again 
Add more olive oil if needed (the pasta should be coated not swimming)
Optional - top with Parmesan cheese

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