Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spinach Basil Pesto


1 ½ c. baby spinach leaves
¾ c. fresh basil leaves
½ c. toasted pine nuts
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ c. extra-virgin olive oil


Blend the spinach, basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 2 table spoons olive oil in a food processor until nearly smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the mixture while processing until smooth.

I shared some, kept some in the fridge for immediate use, and froze some in an ice cube tray for use later.

Corn and Tortellini Toss

Two of my favorite things are in full harvest in my yard right now – tomatoes and basil. I love Caprese salad, and could eat that every day, but I wanted to try something new. I found this recipe on the internet. Since it is currently 100 degrees here, something hot did not sound good. I made my own cold version and shared it with the family. It was a big hit!


1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated cheese and roasted garlic tortellini
2 tablespoons butter
¼ c. chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. fresh corn kernels
¼ c. chopped fresh basil
12 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into halves
4 tablespoons crumbled ricotta or grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Reserving ½ cup pasta cooking water.

(After the pasta was thoroughly cooked, I put it in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.)

2. Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add corn; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add basil, cooked pasta and reserved pasta water to skillet. Cook until thoroughly heated. Top with tomato halves and cheese.

(Instead of this step, I mixed everything together in a large bowl, adding olive oil as needed.

The recipe says that it serves 4. But my “cold” version was easily 6-8 servings.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Asian Grilled Salmon

My dad and brother go to Alaska every year for the salmon run and always come home with loads of salmon. This year their daily allotment of fish was double it has been in previous years which means we have salmon coming out of our ears! To spread the wealth a little we had a salmon BBQ tonight at my house in which I attempted to try dressing up the salmon in new ways. Both recipes were a hit! I know this for sure because almost everyone went back for AT LEAST seconds. The Asian salmon was by far the favorite. Thank you Barefoot Contessa for the amazing recipe! The major alteration I made was marinading the fish for about 3 hours. Next time I make this I will marinade overnight. My husband doesn't even like salmon and he was wondering how we can get more to make this again.


  • 1 side fresh salmon, boned but skin on (about 3 pounds)

For the marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons spicy mustard
  • 3 tablespoons good soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic


Light charcoal briquettes in a grill and brush the grilling rack with oil to keep the salmon from sticking.
While the grill is heating, lay the salmon skin side down on a cutting board and cut it crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Whisk together the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle half of the marinade onto the salmon and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
Place the salmon skin side down on the hot grill; discard the marinade the fish was sitting in. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn carefully with a wide spatula and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes. The salmon will be slightly raw in the center, but don't worry; it will keep cooking as it sits.
Transfer the fish to a flat plate, skin side down, and spoon the reserved marinade on top. Allow the fish to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the skin and serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Grilled Salmon with Lime Butter Sauce

I omitted the zest in this recipe and it was superb and beyond simple!


  • 6 (6-oz) pieces center-cut salmon fillet (about 1 inch thick) with skin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lime zest
  • 6 tablespoons lime butter sauce

Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas).
Season salmon all over with salt and pepper, then grill, flesh sides down, on lightly oiled grill rack (covered only if using gas grill) 4 minutes. Turn fillets over and grill (covered only if using gas grill) until just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes more. Sprinkle fillets with zest and top each with 1 tablespoon lime butter sauce.

  • Lime-Butter Sauce
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted

Purée garlic with lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. With motor running, add melted butter and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

River Tacos

The pictures is not of actual river tacos,
but it gives you the idea of the shape
 My cousin Emily made these for a family get together yesterday and they were awesome! She made enough for 24 and our group of 15 devoured them all. They are meatless and you can prepare most of it the day before so it is a snap for feeding a big crowd. The "taco cone" also makes these great if your group is on the go. The best part is that they are extremely filling!

Serves 6

1 can kidney beans
1/2 can black olives sliced
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 lb grated cheddar cheese
10 oz sour cream
10 oz salsa
2 diced tomatoes
1 diced avocado
diced green onion to taste

Mix all together.
Add broken corn tortilla chips just before serving (or they go soggy).
Serve in flour tortilla cones, made with 1/2 a burrito shell.
(When I make large amounts I like to mix in black and red beans not just pinto)