grilled radicchio treviso and zucchini ribbon salad

August 23, 2013 § 33 Comments

We are seeing signs of Fall here in Seattle and here are two wonderful “late” summer vegetable recipes for you to try.   On my last visit to the farmer’s market I picked up a nice large head of Radicchio Treviso and an even larger sized Italian Striped Zucchini.

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Radicchio Treviso is a leaf chicory.  It is grown as a leaf vegetable and  has long delicate green and magenta leaves, creamy white veins and a crinkled texture. The flavor is bitter which mellows a bit when grilled, braised or baked.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 head of Radicchio Treviso
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • small wedge of grana padano or parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat the grill or grill pan. Cut radicchio in half lengthwise and rub or brush both entire halves with oil.  Set radicchio cut-side down on the grill. Cook until edges are well browned, about 4 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt, turn and cook until radicchio is nicely browned and wilted, about 4 more minutes.

Remove radicchio from grill and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and shaved cheese of choice . Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
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I purchased the Italian Striped Zucchini with a raw ribbon salad in mind.  I have been seeing so many recipes for “zucchini pasta” on blogs lately and in my usual way of shopping…, purchase now, research later, then cook, I picked out the biggest one I could find.
Arriving home from the farmer’s market I set out to find my recipe.  After a WordPress topic search for “zucchini pasta” I found not only this wonderful blog, but this incredible recipe for Fresh Zucchini Pasta.  I happen to have every ingredient on hand so we had it that same evening.  Market to table!  I used a vegetable peeler and shaved the zucchini  (I do not own a mandoline) however, I feel I would prefer the zucchini in the style of Alyssa’s recipe. The recipe listed below is directly from alyssaandcarla’s blog definitely click on their link and visit their blog!
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Alyssa and Carla’s Fresh Zucchini Pasta

Fresh Zucchini “Pasta”
serves one as a light lunch or two as a side dish

Dressing:
1 tablespoon really good extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
a few cracks of freshly ground pepper

1 medium zucchini
8 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

Combine all of the dressing ingredients into a jar, such as a mason jar, and shake to combine thoroughly.  Adjust to taste.

Julienne the zucchini.  I used this mandoline, which I adore (and use for many different dishes).  You can try to do it by hand, but a mandoline creates perfect strands.  I used the mandoline on each side of the zucchini until I got near the center, where the seeds made the strands too weak and they started to fall apart.

Toss the zucchini strands with the dressing.  Plate the zucchini.  Scatter the tomatoes, pine nuts and basil over the zucchini.  Garnish with a sprinkle of parmesan.

summer linguine with fresh hand formed mozzarella

July 24, 2013 § 49 Comments

Right now heirloom cherry tomatoes are starting to appear in the markets in great quantities and I could not be happier.  Although I have five different cherry sized heirloom varietals growing in my own garden, which still need a few more weeks to ripen, I found myself with a basket of them at the checkout stand.  This particular market makes their own hand formed mozzarella and offers the best artisanal crusty breads the city has to offer.  With my greek basil bush doing so well I decided I would make bruscetta “caprese style”  for lunch today.

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We sliced the tomatoes in half, put them in a bowl with fresh bush basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.  We let it sit and marinade for 30 minutes.  The tomatoes were placed on top of crusty bread and a slice of fresh mozzarella.  A fabulous lunch, of which I did not photograph.

With a large bowl of marinaded tomatoes and half of the fresh mozzarella left I extended the caprese idea into a summer pasta.

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To the marinaded tomatoes I added minced garlic, a little more basil and some of the best cheese I have had in awhile…Grana Lodigiano.  A hard texture cheese much the same as Grana Padano.  I liked it’s black rind which I learned is a tradition held onto for centuries.  In ancient times the wheels were matured with a clay coating, grapeseed oil and charcoal.  This compound gave it a black hue.  Today the wheels are still hand coated with natural ingredients to create the same black hue to specifically set it apart from Parmesan.  I do enjoy talking with the cheese monger at the market…

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded basil leaves
  • 8 ounces fresh hand formed mozzarella cheese, diced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water
  • sprinkling salt and black pepper
  • 3/4 pound linguine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Lodigiano cheese or Parmesan cheese

M e t h o d

Place the tomatoes, garlic basil, mozzarella, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large serving bowl.  Stir to mix and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour.  Cook the pasta until al dente.  Drain briefly, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.  Add pasta and reserved water to the tomato mixture.  Add the Grana Lodigiano and toss to mix.  Serve right away while the pasta is still warm.

Serves 4.

buon appetite

orecchiette pasta with cilantro pesto

July 1, 2013 § 32 Comments

We are finally having HOT sunny days here in Seattle.  Thank goodness for the tomato plants who have been very patiently waiting for the sun during the past three weeks.  Seattle can be a unkind to tomatoes.  Typically my plants are late bloomers and by the time their skins should  turn red a blanket of clouds cover the sun once again leaving them an orange hue rather than red and a good supply of green ones too.  I have learned it is best to plant “little” tomatoes such as cherry, grape, sun gold and/or a medium size roma varietal for our short lived tomato growing season.  However, it could just be me and my lack of tomato growing knowledge.

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s u g a r   p l u m   g r a p e   t o m a t o e s

I have a pasta recipe here which requires only one burner on your stove for boiling the orecchiette.  A summery fresh pasta while keeping the heat out of the kitchen!

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 pound good quality orecchiette
  • 2 bunches cilantro, washing and thick stems removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 heaping tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste
  •  sugar plum grape tomatoes

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta, and cook until it is al dente.  While the pasta cooks prepare the pesto.

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f l o w e r i n g   c i l a n t r o

Place cilantro in food processor and whizz until finely chopped.  Add the remaining ingredients and whizz until it is a well mixed pesto.

Slice sugar plum grape tomatoes into small bits and set aside.

Drain the cooked pasta without shaking the colander too much leaving a trace amount of the cooking water.  Return to the pot and stir in the pesto.  Taste to see if you need to salt.  Place in serving bowls topped with sliced sugar plum tomatoes and a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan.

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orecchiette pasta with cilantro pesto and a page in my son’s drawing  journal

Serves 4

buon appetite.

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