Friday, July 29, 2011

Farmers Market Pizza

Hi Everyone!
While visiting some relatives, my grandma made veggie pizza. She rolled out Pillsbury dough and baked it then covered it in ranch dressing and topped it off with diced bell peppers, onion and raw broccoli. It was really good, and I decided to do a gourmet version at home. I came up with Farmer’s Market Pizza!


INGREDIENTS:
Your favorite veggies fresh from the farmers market, we used:
1/2 medium Vidalia onion, diced
2 ears of corn, remove husk and silk, cut kernels off cob
1 green bell pepper, rinse clean, diced
1 pastel bell pepper, rinse clean, diced
1 large red carrot, rinse clean, diced
2 celery stalks, rinse clean, diced
1 baguette, sliced into 1/4 inch thin
All-natural pesto
Few pinches of salt
TOPPING: Candied Cherry Tomatoes


Mix together all veggies in a bowl and add a few pinches of salt. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut baguette into 1/4" slices and place onto rimmed baking pan with a silpat liner on the bottom (makes for easier clean up) and spread a thin layer of pesto onto each slice. Bake for 5 – 6 minutes until lightly toasted. Place baguette slices onto a serving platter. Top each slice with a spoonful of veggie mixture and place a few candied cherry tomatoes on top. Delish! Use whatever veggies are in season. Broccoli, yellow squash and zucchini are very tasty to add into your veggie mix.


It’s really yummy during the summer, because it’s light and full of fresh veggies. The pesto gives it a ton of flavor and the best part is, it’s super healthy! A great way to use your leftover veggie mixture is to cook it up in omelets, delish!


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Candied Cherry Tomatoes

Hi Everyone!

During the summer, tomatoes become sweet and juicy; almost like candy! One day I decided to try and make them even sweeter by candying them.


INGREDIENTS:
1 pint farm fresh cherry tomatoes, rinsed clean and dried with paper towel
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 – 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half and place into a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss with tomatoes to coat. Place tomatoes onto a rimmed baking pan with a silpat liner on the bottom (makes for easier clean up). Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until roasted and caramelized.


They came out tasting delicious! They were slightly crispy, and the balsamic vinegar gave it a tang. Candying the tomatoes brought out the natural sweetness and gave it a stronger taste. Serve on crostinis, salads, etc. These tomatoes taste amazing on Farmers Market Pizza. How do you like to eat your tomatoes? Send me a tweet @TheLizzieMarie.

Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Protecting Your Knife

Hi Everyone!

When I first started cooking, I used paring knives. Paring knives are small knives that I used to cut fruits. As the years went on, I started using bigger knives. Nowadays I use a 5 inch Japanese Santoku knife (I think I'm due for an upgrade, though!) Whenever I'm cutting food on a cutting board and I need to scrape the food into a bowl or pan, I have a little tip for keeping my knife blade sharp. Instead of scraping the food into the bowl or pan using the blade, I use the back of the knife. This way, the blade doesn't get dull, which is really dangerous since you're more likely to cut yourself with a dull blade.


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Parmesan Cheese Rinds

Hi Everyone!

I love all different types of cheeses, but there's one cheese I always have in my fridge. Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) is a hard, Italian cheese that is salty, yet with a delicate flavor. I love it! I use it in almost all of my dinners and soups because it's very delicious and versatile. Parmigiano Reggiano is made in large wheels that weigh about 90 pounds, but you can buy chunks of it. You'll notice that there is a very hard part of it with words engraved in it. Do not eat this part! This part is the rind, which is the outer covering of the cheese. Even though you shouldn't eat it, do NOT throw it out. Pop it in a small ziploc and put it into the freezer until the next time you make some minestrone soup (or any other soup). While your soup is cooking, throw the rind into the soup. It will infuse the soup with a nutty, savory flavor that is really delicious.


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Watermelon Scoops

Hi Everyone!

I love watermelon; it's juicy, sweet and oh so refreshing when served cold. But isn't it a pain to have to chop it up just the right way? I used to have to spend about half an hour cubing the watermelon, and boy was it messy! I recently learned, however, that there is a better way to butcher your watermelon without making a big mess or spending a lot of time. All you need is a watermelon and an ice cream scooper! Simply cut the watermelon in half and start scooping out the 'meat' with the ice cream scooper. It may sound weird, but it works fantastic!



Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Friday, July 8, 2011

Confetti Salad

Hi Everyone!

I love salads because you can top them with anything you like; nuts, fruits, cheeses and even seeds are really yummy on top of lettuce. But what about a salad with no lettuce in it at all?! Confetti salad is somewhere in between a salsa and a salad. Here's how to make it.


INGREDIENTS:
1 ear fresh corn, remove husk and silk, rinse cob clean, cut kernels off cob
1 can all-natural low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, chopped (if the pepper is really big, only use half)
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped (if the pepper is really big, only use half)
1 orange bell pepper, chopped (if the pepper is really big, only use half)
1/2 Vidalia onion, diced
1 cup shelled edamame, prepare according to package
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 lemon or lime
To taste, salt and pepper

Combine first 9 ingredients into a large mixing bowl and carfully mix. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, couple of pinches of salt, pepper and mustard. Whisk vinegar mixture and slowly pour olive oil into vinegar mixture. Whisk until mixture is the consistency of a vinaigrette. Pour vinaigrette into veggie bowl and gently mix. Toss in feta and squeeze juice of half a lemon or lime juice into veggie bowl. Adjust seasons to your liking.

I love confetti salad because it's colorful, fresh and light. You can use any vegetables you like! You can also add different cheeses and pastas, orzo is our favorite. Confetti salad is perfect to serve at a cookout because it's great for vegetarians (leave out the feta) and it's really refreshing after a hot summer day. Hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Red, White & Blue Mediterranean Potato Salad

Hi Everyone!

With the fourth of July just hours away, people tend to go all out on showing their patriotic side! From decorations to hats to party favors, you can make almost anything be red, white and blue themed. But what about your potato salad? I have a really yummy recipe for red, white and blue potato salad. There's no mayonnaise in it so it's lighter than most potato salads, and it looks really nice, too.


INGREDIENTS:
2 pounds of small potatoes: red white and blue, rinsed clean, skin on, quartered
1 teaspoon salt
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup Feta cheese
1 small Vidalia (sweet) onion, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh dill or oregano
1 hard boiled egg, mashed with fork
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
To taste, salt and pepper

Scrub potatoes clean, cut into quarters or bite-sized pieces. Add potatoes to large pot of boiling water, add 1 teaspoon salt. Boil for about 13 minutes until potatoes are slightly firm to bite, but not mushy. Drain in colander and let cool. In large mixing bowl, combine onions, bell pepper, feta, egg, dill, a few pinches of salt, cracked black pepper and potatoes.

In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard. While whisking vinegar mixture, slowly add olive oil until emulsified; forming a vinaigrette. Pour vinaigrette over potato salad and add squeeze of fresh lemon juice, gently mix. Cover bowl and place potato salad into refrigerator for about one hour. Taste salad and adjust flavor for salt and pepper.


I love this potato salad because it's healthy, delicious, and totally patriotic. Everyone will love it!


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pea Ravioli

I love Italian food because it's full of flavor, it's hearty, and it can be really healthy! One of my favorite Italian dishes is ravioli. Ravioli is really versatile because you can stuff it with anything! I like mine with pine nuts and arugula! People think that Italian food is really hard to make, but it can be really easy. Since we had a bag of frozen peas in our freezer, I decided to try and make pea ravioli. Here's how to make it.


INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups fresh shelled or frozen peas
1 package wonton wrappers (usually in the refrigerated healthy food section of stores)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 small shallot, minced
2 – 3 dashes red pepper flakes – NOTE: if you do not like spicy food, do NOT add flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sprinkling of parmesan-reggiano cheese, grated
To taste, salt and pepper
Small cup of water

Heat olive oil over a medium heat in a small pan and saut̩ shallot and red pepper flakes for 2 Р3 minutes until shallots are translucent. Be careful shallots do not brown. Remove pan from stove and let cool. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to boil. Place a metal strainer into a pot of boiling water (watch my video for this step) and pour peas into strainer to blanche. Put a pot holder over strainer handle and cook peas for 3 Р4 minutes. Pick up strainer with peas out of pot and set into an ice bath (a large bowl of ice water) for a couple of minutes (this will keep the peas bright green and stop the cooking process). Lift strainer out of ice bath and drain water. Keep the pot of hot water so you can cook the ravioli in it, turn the heat down to medium to keep the water hot.

In a food processor, blend together ricotta, drained peas, shallot/oil mixture, salt, pepper and a small handful of parmesan cheese. Blend together until creamy. Adjust flavor with salt and pepper to your liking. Lay out a few wonton squares on cutting board and dip your finger into the cup of water. Moisten two sides of a wonton (watch video for this step). Place about 1 tablespoon of pea mixture into center of wonton and fold wonton in half to form a triangle. Press two sides together and seal tightly. Bring pot of water to a soft boil and place about 6 wontons (depending on the size of your pot) into boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes. If pea mixture leaks out of ravioli, use a little less filling in the next batch of ravioli. Carefully scoop out ravioli with a slotted spoon to drain off water.

Serve ravioli on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese. A great side dish is fresh salad. Extra pea filling can be served on crostini.


They were really yummy and light! The wonton wrappers came out perfectly and the peas added a sweetness to the dish. Have some fun and try baking the ravioli instead. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Brush ravioli lightly with olive oil and place on a silpat in a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. They are perfect pillows of tastiness!


What sort of things do you like in your ravioli? Send me a tweet @TheLizzieMarie.

Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie