Tagged: herbs

Marinated Mozzarella

Marinated Mozzarella
The tomato plants in our container garden are a 4-foot-tall tangled mess. The cages didn’t do much to tame those tentacles. Instead they have become a wild hedge in dire need of a trim, but I couldn’t be happier with how unruly they look—the more branches, the more tomatoes. Just a week ago we started picking the red ripe ones. They’re so sweet that I’ve been eating them like candy.

Growing next to those tomatoes is basil that is also thriving in the sun. Caprese salads have been on repeat! It was time to put in a little more effort and soak the cheese in oil, garlic, herbs and spices. Those marinated mozzarella balls had a lot of flavor to match my homegrown cherry tomatoes. They even were the star of a summer charcuterie plate complete with berries and stone fruit.
Marinated Mozzarella
Marinated Mozzarella

8 ounces mozzarella (ciliegine or bocconcini), drained
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (basil, chives, rosemary, oregano)
1 garlic clove, peeled and bruised
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the mozzarella, herbs, garlic, peppercorns, salt and red pepper flakes. Pour in the olive oil and gently stir the mixture. Transfer to an airtight container and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Let the mozzarella come to room temperature before serving.

Zucchini Squash Pea Orzo

Zucchini Squash Pea Orzo
Things at the farmers market got serious on Saturday. I was at one of my favorite stands when I spotted containers of shelled fresh peas. The farmer gave very explicit instructions to consume the peas in 2 days or freeze them. I hadn’t planned on leaving with peas, but I was up for the challenge and bought a box.

Summer pasta had been on my mind when I found some orzo hiding in the back of a cupboard. Before cooking the pasta with the peas, I roasted zucchini and squash. I spooned in pesto for a flavor boost and then finished off this zucchini squash pea orzo with chives and salty crumbled ricotta salata.
Zucchini Squash Pea Orzo
Zucchini Squash Pea Orzo

Serves 4

1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium summer squash, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more for serving
1/2 cup orzo
3/4 cup fresh peas
2 tablespoons basil pesto
2 tablespoons minced chives
1/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the zucchini and squash on a parchment-line sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned at the edges.

Cook the orzo in boiling salted water according to package instructions. Add the peas in the last minute of cooking. Drain and transfer the orzo and peas to a large bowl. Stir in the pesto followed by the zucchini, squash, chives and ricotta salata. Season with salt and pepper.

Quinoa Taco Salad

Quinoa Taco Salad
When I buy tortilla chips, they never last long, so I’ve stopped putting them on my shopping list. Between my husband and I, a single bag easily can be polished off in a day. Now they’re a treat and not a routine part of our weekly eating. Of course I miss those addictively salty, crunchy chips, but now when I have them, they taste even better.

There were a handful of precious chip crumbs at the bottom of a bag I splurged on. Instead of wolfing them down, I used them in a quinoa taco salad. Unlike the classic Tex-Mex version served in a giant tortilla bowl, I went heavy of greens, beans, corn and peppers. The quinoa made this salad filling. I tossed everything in cilantro lime vinaigrette.
Quinoa Taco Salad
Quinoa Taco Salad

Serves 4

For quinoa

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For pico de gallo

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 jalapeno, deseded and minced
Juice of 1 lime
1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch black pepper

For vinaigrette
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

For salad
2 hearts of romaine, trimmed and roughly chopped
1-15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked corn kernels (I used grilled corn.)
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Add the cumin, paprika, salt & pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and let the quinoa cool.

For the pico de gallo, combine the tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the lime juice, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil in a small bowl.

For the salad, toss together the romaine, black beans, corn, bell peppers, quinoa and pico de gallo. Add the vinaigrette and sprinkle with tortilla chips before serving.

Salt & Vinegar Potato Salad

Salt & Vinegar Potato Salad
Week 2 of farmers market season and the pickings were just as slim as week 1. Please forgive my complaining. I know I am being impatient. I did see a stand that had Sun Gold tomatoes, so it won’t be long before all the leafy greens and asparagus transform into everyone’s favorite rainbow of fruits and veggies.

I left the market with a few things including a paper bag filled with fingerling potatoes. Instead of roasting them, I boiled the potatoes and threw them on the grill. I tossed those charred spuds with pickled red onions, champagne vinegar, olive oil, parsley and potato chips to make this salt & vinegar potato salad.
Salt & Vinegar Potato Salad
Salt & Vinegar Potato Salad

Adapted from Food & Wine June 2017

Serves 8

3 pounds fingerling potatoes (I used Red Thumb potatoes.)
Kosher salt & black pepper
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups kettle-cooked salt & vinegar potato chips, crushed

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan filled with salted water. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes to a plate to cool. Halve the potatoes lengthwise.

While the potatoes are cooking, combine the onions and vinegar in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill on medium high heat. Place the potatoes on the grates cut side down and grill until they are slightly charred and grill-marked, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, onions, vinegar, olive oil, parsley and chips. Season with salt and pepper.

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