Tag Archives: Virgin Olive Oil

Fresh Salsa

Summer and roadside produce stands seems to hand in hand. Local farmers have plentiful bounties and are always willing to sell straight to the customer ! We all love the idea of a bargain, but when I read the sign ” all local organic produce” , “fresh herbs”  and “plum tomatoes” I had to stop!

For days  I’d been thinking on how to vamp up the flavor of our grilled chicken breast  without the use of a grilling sauce  and there it was: fresh tomatoes, herbs, fresh peppers  and spring (green onions). Mix up, serve as a dipping side and yum, yum, yum!

The man had harvested the goods that same morning. Oh what a treat it was… the freshest, truest flavor of salsa I’ve ever had. It’s simple, has 4 ingredients and is chock full of flavor. Careful handling the Jalapeno  , it could irritate sensitive skins! The actual heat of the pepper is concentrated in the seeds and  white stuffs inside the pepper, so discard if you like less heat, or leave it all in for a fiesta in your mouth. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 red plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 medium jalapeno pepper, finely chopped ( leave seeds and white out for less heat)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Salt to taste

Mix the tomatoes and shallots in a bowl, toss in the cilantro and salt. Mix in jalapeno to taste. Serve immediately. This salsa can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Guacamole

guac

How we love guacamole! But how do we not love the store-bought weird grey- looking stuff! Our quest for the perfect guacamole started a couple of years ago thanks to the generosity ( and overstock) of a neighbors guacamole tree. Although avocados might have a bad rap or being fatty,  they contain 0 trans fats and do contain 20 vitamins a a cargo load of minerals such as potassium.  In our search for the perfect flavor we discovered a couple of useful facts: you MUST use lime, lemons an guacamole do not jive, and second: you must use fresh peppers. Use serrano peppers if you prefer mild, use jalapenos is you prefer a bit more spice.  ENJOY!

 

Ingredients: (for 2 cups)

2 large ripe avocados
3 firm medium tomatoes, diced
3 jalapenos or Serrano peppers, finely chopped
1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 green onion with the stalk, chopped
the juice of 1/2 or 1 lime
salt to taste

Cut the avocados in half, remove the seeds. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and place it in a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and mix. Place the diced tomatoes and onions into the bowl, mix well and add jalapenos and salt to taste, depending on the desired spiciness. Toss all the ingredients together evenly. Let stand for 10 minutes to let the flavors blend. Taste for salt and spiciness. As with all salsas, if too mild add more peppers; if too spicy, add more tomatoes

Use as a dip or as a condiment for fajitas and grilled meats.

Grape Tomato Italian Bruschetta

Bruschetta are delicious starters, they appeal to most palates and are so easy to prepare. A key ingredient is a tasty tomato, but where to get a tomato that is tasty in the middle or winter? It’s not that there are dozens of farmers markets with luscious fruits on display. Market tomatoes are , well, forcefully ripened, mushy and bland in flavor. The solution a miniature gem that grows year-round in hothouses :the grape tomato! If you never had one they are sweet, have the taste of a a full size summer tomato and are simply delightful to serve! Up until now they were reserved to prepare salads, but when duty calls this mighty fruit can live up to the most demanding fresh tomato recipes, like this bruschetta. Enjoy!

2 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup black pitted olives, sliced
1/3 cup green olives, sliced
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 sweet onion, finely minced
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine tomatoes, onion and garlic in bowl and mix gently. Let sit for a minute , then add the olives, the oil, vinegar and salt pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes. Serve over grilled sliced Italian or French bread sliced 3/4 inches thick. If you are on  a gluten-free diet, serve on rice crackers instead.

Spaghetti With Grape Tomatoes And Chicken Sausage

 

A delicious and quick pasta dish perfect for a mid week dinner. The savory of the sausage compliments the sweetness of the tomatoes. The white pepper makes the flavor of the cherry tomatoes pop. Try whole wheat pasta for extra fiber and texture.  We did our with chicken sausage, but turkey sausage is just as great.  Great with a glass of Pino Noir

8 oz of spaghetti or linguini
1 & 1/2 cups grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/2 cup yellow onion diced
1 chicken and sun dried tomato sausage, cooked and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
fresh cracked white pepper and salt to taste
grated cheese such as grana padano or reggiano parmigiano

While cooking the pasta al dente, prepare the sauce as follows. Sauté the onions in the olive oil till golden brown, add the sausage let cook for 3 minutes. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan, stir in the tomatoes and the salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta and serve in a deep pasta bowl, with the sauce on top. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and enjoy!

Steak Diane

 

Steak Diane

The classic steak dish as prepared by world-class Master Chefs just in time for a romantic for two menu.   The question remains: who is Diane? 🙂 Believe it or not, steak Diane is a tribute to the goddess of the hunt herself: Diana! How the pepper and the wine came in to play is still a mystery . But we all enjoy the end result.  Enjoy with a robust Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Ingredients:( for 2)

2 rib-eye steaks (3/4 inch thick)
6 Tbls butter
1/2 tsp Rosemary
Cracked pepper and salt to taste
1/2 cup red wine

Rinse and pat dry the meat with a paper towel to eliminate odor from packaging an any loose particles. Trim the excess fat of the steaks, rub the steaks with the Rosemary and the pepper. Set aside till they reach room temperature. Heat a heavy sauté pan very hot. Place a pat of butter in the pan then place the steaks to sear; DO NOT TOUCH OR MOVE THE STEAK!, let it cook according to your liking flipping only once! :3 min on each side for rare, 4-5 on each side for medium, 6 minutes on each side for well done. If your steak is thicker you will need to increase the cooking time.
Remove the steak from the pan and place on serving dish “to rest” remember the steak will continue to cook while on the dish due to the absorbed heat.
Put the pan back on the burner and lower the heat to medium; add the butter and stir with a wood spatula or spoon, add the wine and stir, try to get as much brown as you can from the bottom of the pan. Let the alcohol boil off and pour on top of the steak. Serve immediately.